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Teamwork Brings Fashion Shipping to the West Coast DC

Left to right, Ian Womack, Dirk Burns, Darrick Ramsey and Joseph Blevins inspect the first shipping labels for fashions at the West Coast DC.

 

Stores and customers are getting the trendiest clothes and shoes much quicker now that fashions are being shipped from two Exchange warehouses instead of one.

Thanks to teamwork spanning directorates and regions, the West Coast Distribution Center in California began in October delivering men’s, women’s, children’s and infant’s clothes and shoes to Exchanges in the Western and Pacific regions.

Historically, all fashions were shipped from the Dan Daniel DC, which continues to handle supplies along the East Coast.

The move is expected to cut $4.5 million in transportation costs and get fashions to Exchanges—and customers—14 days earlier. Increasing the speed to shelf means stores will avoid costly price markdowns on fashions left over after trends have lost steam and selling seasons end.

Nearly $175 million in fashions are expected to be shipped annually from the two warehouses.

While fashions used to come on hangers, they now come in boxes. Three boxes of fashions await shipment from the West Coast DC to Exchanges in that part of the United States.

“Fashions will hit our store shelves at the same time they hit the shelves at other department stores, which increases the Exchange benefit to shoppers and our earnings for the military’s critical Quality-of-Life programs,” said President and Chief Merchandising Officer Ana Middleton. “I deeply appreciate of all the hard work from directorates across the enterprise and at the region level. This is a great example of teamwork that will move the Exchange forward.”

For instance, the Real Estate Directorate acquired a building on the Sharpe Army Depot, where the West Coast DC is located, for the fashion center.

The Logistics Enhanced Distribution team, led by David Adams, director of IT Omni Channel–Logistics Services, enabled the West Coast DC’s sophisticated warehouse management technology to begin shipping seasonal and one-time fashion buys.

A planning, allocation and replenishment (PAR) team of logistics and merchandising associates ensured fashion orders arrived at the West Coast DC in time.

Just from Dec. 9 to Jan. 9, nearly 115,000 fashion shipments have gone out to 116 stores from the West Coast DC.

Because fashions were historically made in New York City’s Garment District, the Exchange moved its Fashion DC from headquarters in Dallas during the mid-1990s to Dan Daniel to be closer to vendors.

During the past 20 years, however, more clothing manufacturing has moved overseas and shipped into the United States from the West Coast. The Exchange would ship the goods to Dan Daniel 3,000 miles away in Virginia, then truck the fashions back to Exchanges out West, some right down the road from where the products entered the U.S. in California.

About two years ago, Logistics Directorate leaders began planning to make the Exchange’s West Coast DC the fashion hub for that part of the country, said Alan French, vice president of Logistics.

Today, about half of the fashions the Exchange buys are from West Coast vendors.

“We couldn’t have asked for a smoother implementation,” French said. “This has been one of the best implementations ever, and came about because of many people in the MD, RE, LG and the regions working together to get to where we needed to be.”

David Adams, center, and his technical experts from throughout the Exchange enabled the West Coast DC’s modern warehouse system to ship seasonal and one-time fashion buys.

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