Two-thirds of all the shoes sold by Crocs are produced in Southeast Asia. From the moment the shoes are shipped from Asian shores in a freight container, the entire Crocs supply chain is optimally prepared for what must happen next thanks to the ShipitSmarter platform. The platform offers significant advantages, especially in terms of cross-docking.
Back in 2002, a plastic boat shoe launched in the USA rapidly became a hype. Since then, Crocs has evolved into a world-famous shoe brand available in scores of different models, many of which are no longer even made. Likewise, the Crocs supply chain has grown tremendously. Crocs not only supplies to wholesalers and retailers such as Amazon.com, but is also increasingly opening its own stores in addition to its online sales activities directly to consumers. The large majority of its shoes are manufactured in Southeast Asia, reaching their final destinations via regional DCs in Europe, America and Asia. “Thanks to the solutions from ShipitSmarter, we now have full insight into this process,” explains John Frijsen, supply chain SME at Crocs.
Inbound and outbound flow
The collaboration between Crocs and ShipitSmarter began in 2009 with the outbound deliveries from the company’s European DC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. “We deal with a wide variety of order patterns that generate consignments of hugely varying volumes, which means that we work with different carriers as required. Thanks to the link between ShipitSmarter and our warehouse management system (WMS) from Manhattan Associates, scanning a box is all that is needed to print out the right shipping label,” says Frijsen. Following this successful implementation, other parts of the Crocs organisation began to show an interest in ShipitSmarter’s solutions. That resulted in a global implementation programm which encompassed not only the outbound deliveries but also the inbound flows of goods from the company’s regional DCs. Nowadays, suppliers to Crocs interface into the ShipitSmarter platform with an advance shipping notice which contains details of what is in each container at box level. The carriers can upload their track and trace information into the same system so that Crocs can see the status of every container at any moment in time, including when it will arrive at the relevant regional DC.
Cross-docking with exceptions
The way in which the ShipitSmarter platform supports cross-docking is the best demonstration of its strength. Once a container is on its way, the ShipitSmarter platform uses the advance shipping notice and existing customer orders to pre-assign the container’s contents to end customer shipments. When the container arrives at the DC, the labels featuring SSCC codes mean that merely scanning the boxes is enough; warehouse staff can then place them directly in the outbound shipment area. The efficiency of this process can be further improved in the future by getting the suppliers in Asia to print and apply the definitive shipping labels – and all the data is already available in ShipitSmarter. “Of course, a lot can happen in the month that it takes for the containers holding the cross-docking orders to make the journey by boat. A customer could go bankrupt, for instance. ShipitSmarter provides advance insight into any cross-docking orders which involve exceptional circumstances and immediately issues an alert when the relevant box is scanned,” continues Frijsen. Crocs tells of a satisfactory and close collaboration with ShipitSmarter: “Thanks to the detailed shipment information now provided to us by our suppliers and carriers, we can achieve a significant number of operational gains further along the chain. In our DC in Rotterdam, we are now able to process between 20 and 30 percent more cross-docking orders without needing to hire in extra labour,” says Frijsen by way of illustration. “Furthermore, the ShipitSmarter platform has created integration between processes from different parts of the business which previously all worked with their own systems, spreadsheets and various types of files.”