How Herbert Sports saved £16,000 in warehouse operating costs
Herbert Sports is a retailer and Intersport member selling sporting goods from its store in East Grinstead and ecommerce channels supported by a 3,000 sq ft warehouse in Sussex.
Saved per year in warehouse operating costs
Orders per year
Saved in operational man hours
Herbert Sports started their retail journey in 1987 when they were offered the opportunity to buy out somebody who was retiring. Angie Sole, as a sport enthusiast herself, was keen to sell and promote products that she had a strong interest in to fellow sports fans.
With 21 employees across two locations, Herbert Sports are turning over more than £1Mpa and selling across multiple channels including their brick-and-mortar store in East Grinstead, an ecommerce website built with Magento 2.0, Amazon’s UK and European channels, and an eBay marketplace. Currently, Amazon and the physical store are Herbert Sports’ largest channels but they expect to see the most growth from eBay in the year ahead.
We spoke to Angie Sole, Managing Director at Herbert Sports to find out the challenges they face as a multichannel retailer and to talk about the technology that helps them successfully run their business.
When embarking on their search for software, Herbert Sports were very keen to address one of the biggest challenges that retailers face; improving their bottom line with accurate inventory management. Angie explains, “Accurate inventory management is key, so as not to over or undersell. Getting this right puts money on the bottom line.”
Previously, Herbert Sports used a system called Top2Toe which lacked multichannel capabilities and integrations to the leading ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. They needed a new system that would allow them to be a successful multichannel retailer by running the business seamlessly across different channels and processes.
The business also faced the challenge of improving their productivity in the fulfillment side of the organization so they were looking for a warehouse solution that would allow them to reduce time spent fulfilling orders, eliminate mistakes that were being made and save them money. “In our tight margin business, every mistake costs the equivalent of the profit made on 7 orders – so eliminating mistakes makes for a huge saving. In addition to that is the impact on our ratings and customer feedback, which affects future sales”, Angie tells us.
Productivity in the warehouse
Seamlessly integrating multiple sales channels
Accurate inventory management
Herbert Sports knew it was necessary to find a solution that would overcome the challenges their multichannel sports business was facing. Angie explains, “We evaluated Brightpearl and decided that it would cover the majority of our needs. Due to the integrations with so many other software systems, it’s meant that we can now run everything seamlessly through one holistic system.”
“Brightpearl is really easy. All the features are clearly laid out, logical and deliver exactly what our team needs to get the job done for our customers”, Angie tells us.
Angie shares how implementing Brightpearl’s retail management system almost 4 years ago has improved the customer experience, “The core Brightpearl system covers off all the channel and customer facing needs of our business by managing order progress information to customers and channels to meet and exceed their expectations. Additionally, many of the repetitive mundane tasks such as order fulfilment and allocating shipping methods are now done by Brightpearl Automation which saves a lot of time.”
“The next challenge we were faced with was to manage our warehouse operations more effectively to improve efficiency and reduce costs for our rapidly growing business. Brightpearl’s new Warehouse Management System (WMS) came along at just the right time and is proving to be invaluable.” Angie shared how everyone in the company is using Brightpearl and the warehouse and order processing staff use the new WMS system for core processes including using it for deliveries, goods out, transfers and inventory counts.
Angie adds, “The WMS’s key strengths mirror those of Brightpearl; simplicity, functionality, speed and reliability. The warehouse management system was also very quick and easy to implement, and required very little training for our staff.”
“Its innovative processes like guided picking and SKU driven packing save us 25% warehouse operational man hours, a major win for our business. Additionally, Brightpearl WMS has virtually eliminated mistakes, which are very costly to put right. For every mistake made on shipping out the wrong order or product to the customer, it would cost us £10.70 to recover and we’d need to fulfill 7 orders correctly in order to repay that cost. It saves us money by significantly reducing operational risk and our channel ratings have improved since implementing Brightpearl. We can now boast “top seller” status on eBay and we’ve got close to 100% positive feedback on Amazon.”
In addition to saving costs by eliminating errors, “We can complete smaller cycle counts now, so we can gradually count our inventory throughout the year rather than having to do it all in a couple of days and get in extra staff to help. Before Brightpearl, we had to hire special readers from our EPOS provider T2T at £300 per week.”
Eliminates errors and increases efficiency
Quick and easy to implement
One holistic system with seamless integrations
We wanted to find out what Angie Sole really loves about running the Herbert Sports business and she shared, “The leisure industry is a great sector to be in - we feel we are helping our customers enjoy their leisure time and always look forward to the next new product we can sell.”
When asked about the future in 5 years, Angie opened up that her vision is to sell the business and happily retire. She adds: “By automating administration and warehouse processes, the time freed by Brightpearl has already enabled me to start cutting down my working hours.”
We asked Herbert Sports to share their advice for fellow retailers, both those established and those starting out. Angie advises, ”For existing retailers, you must realize that a multichannel approach is essential and that legacy EPOS systems must be retired in favor of living, evolving and efficient systems and processes. It’s the most effective way to improve productivity.” On the other hand, “For new businesses, it’s key to have something unique to offer and use technology to improve productivity and keep costs down.”
As Herbert Sports reflect on their business success, they shared the only thing they would have done differently: “We should have recognized the value of a multichannel approach and invested in cutting-edge technology sooner. It would have made our business stronger.”