Napa Style Case Study

How NapaStyle reduced their shipping costs by 20% during their busiest time of year by partnering with ShipJunction




The Problem

NapaStyle offers an eclectic assortment of housewares and home furnishings and has been experiencing tremendous growth. They key challenge that needed to be addressed was how to scale the warehousing operations to handle the extra volume particularly during the peak holiday period where order volume increases more than 4X over normal months. The previous system and workflows were highly manual with many parts of the process requiring a staff member to make a specific decision and interact with a system before a package would move to the next fulfillment stage.


The Solution

In partnering with ShipJunction, NapaStyle leveraged ShipJunction Wave Manager to simplify and vastly improve their fulfillment workflows. Through automation and the flexibility in having complete control over shipping, NapaStyle was able to substantially improve the output of their warehouse with using less staff. Additionally, with ShipJunction Rate Manager, they were able to reduce their shipping costs through intelligently routing packages via the best service option and by catching issues early, they avoided many accessorial charges.


The Results

“ShipJunction introduced innovative workflows to organize our orders in ways we never thought possible. It improved throughput, reduced labor and enhanced our customer experience.” John Salvatore, the Senior Director of Operations

NapaStyle easily managed a 4.3X increase in holiday order volume using less staff and in addition to that, was able to lower their average shipping costs by 20% during the busiest time of the year.


The Strategy

To help NapaStyle improve the fulfillment output of their warehouse, ShipJunction worked with John Salvatore, the Senior Director of Operations to design and implement brand new fulfillment and shipping workflows. ShipJunction offered the flexibility for John to tailor the system for his specific needs and operating environment. The target goals were:

The target goals were:

  1. 1. Simplify fulfillment
  2. 2. Pick efficiency
  3. 3. Reduce returns
  4. 4. Lower shipping costs


Solution #1: Simplify fulfillment

Prior to ShipJunction, NapaStyle printed their orders by order number, the stack of orders would then get manually sorted according to different attributes such as product location, shipping zone, service level etc. The sort sequence changed depending on the season and ever revolving business needs. After being boxed, every package would get weighed and scanned before the shipping label is able to get printed.

Through Wave Manager, NapaStyle has now eliminated all the manual steps above and the sort intelligence is now automatically executed. When the orders get printed out, a carrier compliant shipping label is integrated with the invoice/pick ticket and they are already sequenced according to the needs of the business.

This approach completely eliminates the requirement for manual sorting, weighing each package and individual generation of shipping labels. If a particular need arises to change the sequencing, say for instance, seasonal variations or a looming delivery date such as Valentines or Christmas day, ShipJunction has the tools to handle these situations so that you can make changes to the sequencing on the fly. As a result of this simplification and flexibility, NapaStyle was able to reduce the number of staff required for daily operations but has also been able to handle the growth in its business along with its seasonal spikes.


Solution #2: Pick efficiency

Like many other retailers, 40% of annual sales occur in November and December for NapaStyle. With this significant increase in order volume occurring during a very short window, it was imperative to have flexibility in being able to custom sequence orders by any attribute to accommodate the dynamic environment in the warehouse as inventory fluctuated and the racking and locations changed in response.

NapaStyle used Wave Manager to optimize the order sequencing based on defined attributes and any other business needs that surfaced. The sequencing allows the pickers to move through the warehouse in the most efficient manner possible but are also able to prioritize the orders that need to get picked first. An example is that you may want to pick all the express orders first or any zone 8 orders etc; but within each of these groupings, ensure that the orders are sub-sorted so that that the pickers can pick them as efficiently as possible by taking the most efficient path through the warehouse for any group of orders.


Solution #3: Reduce returns

In the state of California, any product that contains a potentially harmful chemical such as the lead in high end glassware, the retailer needs to include the Prop 65 warning along with the product to inform the customer. Due to constraints in their previous system, NapaStyle was unable to isolate just the California bound shipments that included the affected products to include the warning. To ensure absolute compliance with the law, they included the warning with the affected products to all states. The impact of this was that certain customers outside of California, upon receiving their product, were alarmed by the warning increasing the return rate for those products.

This vastly simplified the workflows and reduced the reliance on specialized process training and knowledge for their teams. The new streamlined processes allowed the teams to be easily cross trained across a much larger set of functions which resulted in them being much more nimble in handling unplanned situations. Previously, specific team members held specific knowledge of the process, so there were challenges when one of them would be sick or go on vacation. Now, the whole team is capable of using the entire ShipJunction solution eliminating the problems with staff scheduling.

With the flexibility offered by ShipJunction, NapaStyle was able to configure custom business rules to manage such scenarios. In this case, they were able to set up a rule that if an order contained a product that required the warning and was only being shipped to a Californian address, the messaging is automatically included on the invoice to the customer. The Prop 65 returns used to be one of the top reasons for product returns; after ShipJunction these types of returns became nonexistent.


Solution #4: Lower shipping costs

It’s logical to choose the lowest cost option to ship a package. However at large volumes, and with system limitations, this can be very difficult to accomplish and also ensure that all packages get delivered on time. With Rate Manager, NapaStyle regained control of their shipping and was able to manage their costs and adapt to a fast changing situations.

NapaStyle ships with FedEx using both their Ground and Home service. You need to know however, whether the address is residential or commercial to route it through the appropriate service. If you don’t, there is an accessorial charge for FedEx to re-route it. Rate Manager ensures that this doesn’t happen and routes the package to the appropriate service. In addition to this, as part of its routing engine, NapaStyle saved considerably from ShipJunction automatic address correction.

With the flexibility afforded by the custom order sequencing, NapaStyle was able to minimize its reliance on air shipments. The week before Christmas, NapaStyle was able to prioritize their Zone 7 and 8 packages and pick and ship those first via ground early on in the week so that they did not have to upgrade those packages later to air. With 1 Day costing on average 2X that of 3 day, and 3 Day being 3X that of ground, you can quickly see how by reducing the reliance on express services, NapaStyle was able reduce their shipping expenses considerably.


Conclusion

“Working with ShipJunction is quick, easy and got us great results. You are able to manipulate your shipments on the fly to keep up with market demands whilst reducing issues and expenses. We have used ShipJunction for over 5 years and I would recommend it to everyone.” John Salvatore, the Senior Director of Operations

If you are experiencing growth like NapaStyle or have large seasonal spikes and are being limited by your current processes, you don’t need to hire more people or invest in additional capital investments. Let ShipJunction demonstrate to you how we can help drive higher fulfillment output and improve the overall efficiency of your operations.


NapaStyle, the brain child of celebrity chef Michael Chiarello, is a multi-channel lifestyle retailer inspired by Michael’s Southern Italian heritage, the Napa Valley style of life, and a passion for seasonal and sustainable living. Along with its strong online retail presence, NapaStyle also operates a large catalog business and physical retail stores.

Website: www.napastyle.com
Industry: Housewares and Home Furnishings
Headquarters: Napa, CA