Major Retailer Achieves Efficiency and Cost Savings By Partnering with Canon
Process Optimization at Major Retailer Improves Productivity and Reduces Cost
When your e-business and retail stores depend on processing 11,500 packages a day, shipping and receiving, mail, merchandising and even ofﬁce reception become critical operations. That’s why one of America’s largest retailers turned to Canon Business Process Services for help. With operations including a chain of prominent department stores, a thriving catalog business and e-commerce functions, this company has 150,000 associates on staff. They needed an in-house managed services partner who could run back-ofﬁce operations at the pace of e-commerce.
The corporate headquarters served as the operational hub for the organization—providing the retail stores, catalog and e-commerce operations with administrative, shipping and receiving, records management, product sourcing and distribution services.
As the e-commerce side of the business began to grow rapidly, the inefficiency of these activities caused a serious bottle-neck. Improvements were called for in the productivity of selling space, inventory control, document and records management, overhead expenses and gross margins. Canon Business Process Services looked at the following:
- Optimizing the shipping and receiving hub, so that every one of the 11,500 packages per day could be accurately documented—the data then fed into the supply-chain management system for timely customer service and order processing
- Reengineering the corporate mail center to reduce labor, postage and courier expenses, as well as automating the capture of documentation
- Managing the warehouse, which contains 50,000 boxes of official company records
- Turning the corporate switchboard operation into a customer service center
- Restyling the corporate reception to better welcome visiting merchants and expedite community events
Solutions Beyond Technology
Canon relied on more than technology to solve these business challenges. The solutions were developed by first addressing business process needs, as well as management and staffing requirements. Only then were the appropriate new technologies considered:
- In the shipping and receiving hub, Canon automated package tracking and data capture, replacing 200 hours of manual data entry per month with bar code technology
- In the mail center, Canon redesigned the workflow and installed new preparation and in-motion postage metering machines, eliminating manual weighing and sorting
- Canon supplied staffing expertise to the day-to-day record keeping processes, coordinating with storage vendors and executing client records standards
- Corporate reception and telephone switchboard operations were merged into one operation. Canon took responsibility for both training and budget.
The results of Canon's innovative approach to solving operational problems are signiﬁcant and can be accurately measured in terms of cost savings, productivity gains and improved customer satisfaction levels:
- The cost of shipping and couriers from the home office hub dropped by 24%
- In the mail center, implementing best practices saved $200,000 per year in postage expenses, and process reengineering saved another $1.5 million in indirect labor costs
- The mail center now also serves as a customer service center, providing fulfillment for the catalog and advertising department, at a rate of 16,000 items per day. This eliminated the need to expand the fulfillment facility at a cost of millions of dollars.
- A coordinated reception and corporate contact center answers 3,000 calls per day, reducing costs by 17%