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VF Corp. improves omnichannel inventory visibility via mobile scanning

North Face interior
VF Corp. is helping stores fulfill omnichannel orders.

VF Corp. is turning stores into omnichannel hubs with a real-time mobile view of inventory.

The parent company of Vans, The North Face, Timberland and Dickies, had been experiencing in-store inventory inaccuracies, which caused 15% of online orders to be canceled due to stock shortages. 

In addition, wait times for customers picking up online orders in stores could be up to 15 minutes, causing omnichannel disruption and customer dissatisfaction. Store associates were using dedicated scanning devices to perform store operations tasks. 

However, the devices offered no real-time feedback and required associates to scan items, then manually compare the scanned data to system data. Errors required associates to return to the stockroom and check what was scanned to correct discrepancies, causing bottlenecks and slowing down processes.

Also, due to a slow and manual receiving goods process, store associates could only check 10% of received items, affecting accuracy rates. In order to resolve these issues and turn stores into mini-warehouses for fulfilling online orders, VF decided to replace its legacy dedicated scanners with a new Scandit data capture application running on employee smartphones. 

VF integrated the Scandit Barcode Scanning SDK and linked the application to the SAP Fiori application library. The retailer first addressed its omnichannel operations, utilizing the Scandit app-equipped smart devices for three services: ship-from-store, buy online pickup in store, and reserve online buy in store.

All three processes involved picking the correct items, assembling the order, and preparing it for collection or delivery, requiring fast and reliable ergonomic scanning to help employees pick orders and meet agreed service level agreements.

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VF took a phased approach to implementation, starting with its stores in North America and successfully piloting the technology there. The company found that omnichannel processes were occurring closer to the customer and in real time, with associates receiving goods easier and faster for enhanced stock accuracy

Store associates now know exactly where an item is in store, even if it hasn’t been fully processed and moved to the floor. VF determined that associates are saving up to 60% of their time on tedious scan-heavy tasks with the new smartphone-based solution. 

Improved inventory accuracy is also resulting in decreased canceled orders, with associates enabled to collect items with customers and offer cross- and up-selling recommendations, creating an increase in sales.

Resource planning has also improved. Stores used to have no visibility to forecasts. However, now they know in seven days in advance what items will be delivered and the number of SKUs that need to be scanned and received, helping to plan the resources required in store.

“We have started with the key concept of Scandit, injecting scanning speed, accuracy and intelligence into our operations,” said Andrea Comi, global director, digital and technology DTC, VF Corporation. “But there are a lot more advanced capabilities we can use. So my idea is to start building more layers to improve our operations even further.”

Established in 1899 in Pennsylvania, VF Corp. operates globally across 1,265 retail stores and employs 35,000 associates.

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