How to Optimize Your Apparel Operation from the Warehouse to Retail
If you work in the apparel industry, we don’t have to tell you how quickly things have changed. The combination of persistent supply chain issues and spiking eCommerce demand in recent years meant tried-and-true tactics were suddenly no longer viable. Apparel retailers quickly found themselves facing two options — evolve operations, or close their doors. Those that chose evolution were immediately faced with another tough task: deciding where to start.
If you’ve been searching for a strategy to catapult your apparel operation ahead of the curve and into your customers’ good graces, this article is for you. Optimizing logistics and warehousing is one of the highest ROI strategies apparel companies leverage to:
- Drive sales
- Minimize expenses
- Capitalize on fast-changing consumer preferences and demand
We’ll be breaking down the importance of efficient supply chain management, sharing our proven tips & tricks for designing the ideal warehouse for apparel operations and providing strategies for streamlining your order fulfillment process.
The Importance of Efficient Supply Chain Management in the Apparel Industry
Grappling with supply chain challenges is a universal struggle in the dynamic world of apparel retail. Apparel brands that want to improve profitability, capture market share, and wow their customers must contend with challenges like seasonal demand shifts, fluctuating consumer trends, complex sourcing...the list goes on.
Fortunately, optimizing your supply chain, from warehousing and fulfillment processes to retail organization, can spark outsized efficiency gains that propel your brand ahead of the curve – and the competition.
Designing an Efficient Warehouse for Apparel Operations
Apparel brands that want to capitalize on fast-paced fashion trends, provide exceptional buying experiences, and expand their market share must prioritize:
- Maximizing their warehouse storage capacity
- Enhancing apparel inventory management
- And streamlining order fulfillment
One of the best approaches to improving warehouse optimization is replacing outdated and ineffective storage practices with dynamic, modern solutions. Dynamic warehouse solutions, like high-density shelving, convenient pick carts, and gravity-fed carton flow systems can generate impressive operational improvements, like:
- Reducing labor costs by up to 40%
- Increasing storage density by 40-60%
- Improving pick efficiency and accuracy by 20-30%
- And enhancing inventory accessibility, visibility, & organization
How Dynamic Solutions Drive Real-World Warehousing Wins
UNEX’s dynamic, high-density storage solutions helped Overton’s Watersports avoid a multi-million dollar warehouse renovation.
Our SpeedCell shelving condensed 200ft. of disorganized, hard-to-access shelving into 40ft. of neat, navigable SKUs. The 5x gain in storage capacity allowed Overton’s to add thousands of SKUs to their warehouses with zero renovation or construction costs.
Streamlining Order Fulfillment Processes
A sleek, streamlined fulfillment process is a key differentiator between brands that consistently capitalize on hot trends and those that get stuck in a cycle of playing catch-up.
Streamlining your apparel's journey from the production line to your customers' closets is a multi-faceted process ripe for innovation and improvement. Production, picking, packing, and delivery can all be enhanced to increase fulfillment efficiency, speed, and accuracy.
Here are three tools any apparel retailer can use to supercharge their order fulfillment process.
1. High-Density Industrial Shelving
High-density shelving solutions, like UNEX's SpeedCell, are designed to expedite order picking to improve overall fulfillment speed.
SpeedCell shelving installs directly into standard shelving racks, allowing apparel retailers to instantly expand warehouse and retail backroom storage capacity by as much as 60%
2. Mobile Picking Carts
Modernized pick carts, like UNEX’s SpeedCartt, introduce unmatched flexibility, efficiency, and speed to time-intensive fulfillment tasks like restocking, organizing, and retrieving goods.
Multiple pick facings, single-side and back-to-back loading options, and customizable cart and column sizes increase storage density and improve SKU accessibility, instantly enhancing both pick accuracy and efficiency.
3. Carton Flow Systems
Carton flow systems, like UNEX’s SpanTrack, leverage their gravity-fed designs to increase fulfillment speed and enhance pick rates by:
- Automatically replenishing SKUs
- Enhancing SKU accessibility and visibility
- And eliminating unnecessary picker travel and strain.
Optimizing Retail Locations for Efficiency
As online sales and in-store pick up has boomed in popularity, retail locations across the country have begun pulling double-duty as apparel retailers’ final fulfillment centers.
The only problem?
99% of them were built to accommodate outdated inventory strategies — like weekly restocks from regional distributors.
The rise of fast fashion, coupled with the pandemic’s effects on consumer buying preferences, ushered in a new era for apparel retail, characterized by:
- Faster turnover rates
- Smaller, more frequent restocks
- And a growing need for dynamic inventory management solutions and maximum storage efficiency
Storage solutions like high-density shelving can instantly condense and organize retail SKUs into a 40-60% smaller footprint, freeing up valuable floor space that can be used to stock trending items.
Industrial shelving can also streamline restocking, modernize apparel inventory management, reduce clutter that leads to workplace accidents, and lighten the load on backroom employees.
Optimize Your Operations with UNEX's Dynamic Storage Solutions
Yesterday’s warehousing, fulfillment, and inventory management solutions won’t win you any sales today.
It’s time to modernize and optimize your retail apparel operations with dynamic storage solutions that empower your brand to save time and money every step of the way from runway to rack.
UNEX’s industry-leading storage solutions are trusted by retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and fulfillment centers around the globe to streamline their operations, enhance their performance, and maximize their efficiency.
Interested in exploring our solutions to see if they could solve your apparel woes? Check out our product guide for dynamic retail and omnichannel fulfillment.
You can also reach out to one of our space optimization experts for 1-on-1 insights and advice on how we can solve your company’s most pressing warehousing, fulfillment, and storage problems. Get in touch.