Speed scanning

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Presented by
  • Plant & Equipment

Online beauty retailer Adore Beauty has appointed Zebra Technologies for a warehouse solution as part of its growth strategy

Adore-Beauty
The new warehouse is three times the size of the previous one

Founder and CEO Kate Morris was only 21-years-old when she launched the country’s first beauty e-commerce site out of her garage 20 years ago with just $12,000 and two cosmetic companies on board.

Today, the company is worth more than $100 million, with plans to triple in size over the next couple of years.

It stocks over 250 prestige brands and 13,000 products across skincare, haircare, makeup, fragrance and wellness categories, dispatching some 6,500 orders daily out of its Keilor Park warehouse on the outskirts of Melbourne.

The move into the new 4,000 square metre site last October follows the uptake of Zebra’s TC8000 Android touch mobile computers, which has seen productivity increase by 30 per cent across warehouse operations.

Not only has it increased safety but improved the company’s outbound order accuracy rate to 99.9 per cent.

Easy to use and comfortable to hold, warehouse staff can now type up to 40 per cent faster on the devices’ keyboard, slashing errors by 60 per cent.

Adore Beauty chose Zebra’s touch mobile computers in a bid to modernise its warehouse operations and support its aggressive growth ambitions, its warehouse operations manager Charley Fisk says.

"The Zebra TC8000 was definitely a crowd favourite," Fisk says.

"Our team loves the touch screen element and its unique ergonomics suited for our warehouse workflows while remaining both light and rugged.

"From an operational perspective, deploying the TC8000 was seamless with no interruptions to our supply chain operations, and most importantly, the device gives us a platform that we can leverage to support future growth."

The Zebra TC8000 is used for a wide range of tasks, from tracking inbound and outbound goods, outbound goods to stock taking. It also reduced the load on a person’s wrist so they can work longer.

Made lighter and rugged, it can handle over 2,000 drops to concrete from a height of 2.4 metres and featuring a long battery life, it can last up to three days.

"Prior to moving on to mobile computing solution we were relying on paper for every order, every pick and for putting away," Fisk says.

"We’ve sped up our in-bound functions; our stock levels are more correct on the shelves and orders are more accurate."

The company uses the devices for inbound functions, for receiving put-away and for cycle counts and picking.

Adore-Beauty
Founder and CEO of Adore Beauty Kate Morris

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

At a cost of $3,200 per year, Adore Beauty chose Zebra’s devices due to their functionality features.

It had put together a focus group that tested several devices before choosing Zebra, she explains.

"They loved the touch screen element and they loved the ergonomics," Fisk says.

"From an operations perspective, what we love is the ability to continue to grow and develop our systems with the devices that will see us in the future.

"The big feature of the TC8000 is its scanning ability, which is used a lot at Adore Beauty. Because of its form factor, it’s very easy to scan a barcode, and it can scan 1D and 2D barcodes as well."

She has commended Zebra for the implementation, saying the company had loaned a device to test prior to purchasing.

"Zebra was great," Fisk says.

"They were able to loan a device over to our warehouse management system (WMS) team to test their system on the device prior to purchasing them for us so we knew they were going to work well.

"The reason we initially brought them in was to compliment the WMS system that we were putting in. Previously we were completely manual – paper based, and we wanted to put WMS in to help with operations for different reasons."

Adore Beauty’s young warehouse team has enjoyed the touch screen features.

With 100 staff, that number is set to grow as the company keeps up with demand.

Zebra Technologies Australia and New Zealand regional director Tom Christodoulou says Zebra works closely with barcode scanners supplier Gamma Solutions to deliver industry-tailored solutions that best cater to their customers, like Adore Beauty.

"At Zebra Technologies we’re quite committed at servicing our customers with robust technologies and solutions to facilitate a scalable growth," Christodoulou says.

"For us, an important part of our business is to work closely not just with customers but with our partners – we work with partners worldwide to ensure that we’re able to deliver these industry-tailored solutions which are customised.

"In this case, Adore Beauty has partnered with Gamma Solutions, which is one of our partners, and they were the ones who have helped Charley [Fisk] bridge that gap between software and hardware and help them have a more seamless integration in their new warehouse and help them go live with minimum interruptions."

Adore-Beauty
The TC8000 can scan both 1D and 2D barcodes

ONLINE BEAUTY DISRUPTERS

Millennials’ lust for makeup has been driving a boom in cosmetics, with those who identify themselves as "makeup enthusiasts" contributing to a jump in sale of shimmery highlights and lush lipsticks.

Social media influencers have helped sell cosmetics to a young audience, with established beauty brands teaming up with makers to tap into the market.

"I think it’s been a gradual thing with the whole Instagram as that continues to grow – it’s become a bigger focus, obviously a lot more influencers are in the market which influences the younger generation, male and female," Fisk says.

"Our company has grown from there – it’s had a lot to do with social media."

Adore Beauty’s partnership with Zebra began two years ago – six months before it implemented TC8000.

Australia Post is Adore Beauty’s exclusive partner, helping deliver same-day orders.

"We’ve got twilight hour at the moment, which is same-day delivery within Melbourne," Fisk adds.

"If you order before 11am you’ll receive the item the same evening between 6-9pm. Then we also deliver free express over $50 within the metro area, so that gives you next-day delivery for free."

The move into the new Keilor Park warehouse in October followed only days after the company went live with WMS.

"It was a very bold move to do those two things closely together – that alone gave us the space that we needed to grow our inventory; having new brands, store our Christmas stock and be able to have forklifts and replenish bulk storage, which we didn’t have the luxury of doing previously," she adds.

"This warehouse is three times the size of our last one, it has maximised the opportunity we’ve had with the WMS change."

Adore Beauty’s head office and warehouse was previously combined but rapid expansion has meant the company had to split their operations, with head office remaining in Northcote.

Adore-Beauty
Zebra Technologies Australia and New Zealand regional director Tom Christodoulou

DATA-LED

Working at a cosmetics counter during her university holidays, Morris had noticed women finding stores intimidating and unpleasant.

Inspired to create a disruptive beauty shopping experience that empowered consumers, she set off with her business idea from her garage. 

Over the last two years, Adore Beauty has shifted its e-commerce-driven mindset to building a comprehensive data picture business-wide in order to improve effectiveness.

The company has formed an in-house data team which unites streams of customer data into the one Emarsys orchestrated system – an independent marketing platform company, showing visibility of engagement around campaigns.

It has also helped understand how customers react. By being as intuitive with digital approaches as in-store companies are, it’s helped Adore Beauty look for where new customers are and allocate marketing investment accordingly.

Ensuring data is fit for purpose has helped Adore Beauty grow.

Morris has sold 60 per cent of Adore Beauty to Quadrant Private Equity after a year-long search for the perfect commercial partner.

The company has a five-year winning streak in the Deloitte Tech Fast 50.

Adore Beauty has been busy raising capital over the past 18 months, preparing for New Zealand launch and starting a podcast.

Adore-Beauty
Same-day delivery is a key way in which online sales have had to move to meet customer demands

THE ROAD TO WAREHOUSE MODERNISATION

As the volume and velocity of e-commerce continues to increase, warehouse operations are revamping their fulfilment strategies.

According to its latest warehousing vision study, Zebra Technologies says that by 2024, automation will enhance worker performance rather than replace workers.

Rethinking fulfilment strategies and operations to meet emerging challenges across the warehouse remains a top priority, it adds.

The study, which analyses IT and operations decision makers from manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, post and parcel delivery and wholesale distribution industries, has found the investment and implementation of new technologies is critical for remaining competitive in the on-demand economy.

Sixty-one per cent of decision makers plan to enable partial automation or labour augmentation with technology in the warehouse.

More than 70 per cent of respondents believe human interaction is part of their optimal balance in warehousing, with 39 per cent citing partial automation (some human involvement) and 34 per cent citing augmentation (equipping workers with devices) as their preference.

Decision makers anticipate using robotics for inbound inventory management (24 per cent), packing (22 per cent) and goods in/receiving (20 per cent) by 2024.

Rethinking fulfilment strategies and operations to meet emerging challenges across the warehouse remains a top priority, with the investment and implementation of new technologies critical for remaining competitive in the on-demand economy.

"Consumers today have seemingly insatiable demands for 24/7 product search and purchase," Christodoulou says.

"The ‘I want it now’ mentality of consumers stretches across all industries and have since upended the supply chain, impacting manufacturers, retailers and the warehousing operations that serve their needs.

"Our study further revealed that 40 per cent of the surveyed decision makers reported an increase in consumer demand as top driver for growth, with over one-third of those surveyed that shorter lead-times are fuelling their expansion plans and causing them to rethink their strategies."

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