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Optimising retail distribution for the fashion industry


Garment warehouse

When one of the largest speciality retailers of women’s fashion in Australia wanted to transform its national distribution network, it called on Toll to deliver a dynamic supply chain solution.

The Challenge

Specialty Fashion Group (SFG) is represented by a collection of iconic brands including Millers, Katie’s, Autograph, Crossroads and City Chic.

Since 2013, Toll has been SFG’s preferred national supplier of distribution services in Australia and recently progressed to also providing SFG with warehousing services.

With changes occurring within the SFG business – including the acquisition of popular brand Rivers – SFG’s national supply chain needed to be able to move stock efficiently around the country to meet demand.

SFG had also recently diversified its service offering to provide customers with a new Click & Collect service – an alternative to shopping in a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ store or shopping purely online. The service allows customers to place orders online and have their products shipped direct to their closest store for collection.

To meet its new goals, SFG approached Toll to remodel its entire existing supply chain network in Australia.

The Solution

Drawing on its experience in supply chain modelling, Toll proposed using its Homebush warehouse facility in Sydney’s inner west to provide centralised warehousing for the SFG brands,  and using Toll for the required transport services.

Under SFG’s existing supply chain model, stock was pushed directly to stores based on forecast demand.

We proposed moving to a more dynamic pull/push supply chain model – this allows SFG to balance proactive and reactive stock ordering to make sure its diverse product range was available throughout its national distribution network.

The Results

By combining analysis of SFG’s ordering data with our extensive fleet and operations modelling process, we were able to propose a multifaceted solution that consolidated the customer’s distribution network and simplified its supply chain.

The next phase for the Homebush warehouse is to introduce automated cross docking for SFG’s brands stock. New cross docking technology allows both garments on hangers and carton freight to be routed immediately for dispatch, or stored for later distribution. These automated processes are expected to improve the timeliness and accuracy of deliveries to stores.

The site is expected to dispatch over 25 million units annually from 2015.

Customer testimonial

I am delighted with the approach that has been taken by everyone involved in the project; this really has been a true partnership approach. Considering the scale of the change, the three brand conversions were individually phased to ensure minimal disruption. KPI delivery is demonstrating success against all measures and we are now embarking on a Continuous Improvement program to move the operation to the next level”.

– Alex Linton, General Manager Logistics & Procurement, Specialty Fashion Group