Retail Solutions - HoF moots supply chain revamp to better use store floorspace

House of Fraser is mulling an overhaul of its supply chain model, following the opening of its City store and the acquisition of a warehouse management system (WMS) from Manhattan Associates.

The department store group, which operates 50 stores in the UK, has a 480,000 sq ft (44,600 sq m) national distribution centre in Milton Keynes, but is also opening a 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m) off-site stockroom in Barking to support its City store, which opens on September 9.

House of Fraser supply chain director Colin Porter said: 'Because space is at a premium in the City, we wanted to use as much of it as we could for trading space. Additionally, there are all sorts of access restrictions.

Effectively the back door to the store is in Barking.'

The stockroom will hold enough goods to refill the shelves daily, plus back-up stock for fast replenishment. According to Porter, if the new system works, the model will be extended to other high-density stores, such as those at Bluewater, Lakeside and Meadowhall.

The stockroom model is made possible by the new WMS from Manhattan Associates.

Porter said that the store's previous system - Riva, from Azzuri - could not cope.

'With the WMS system in place, we can make changes at the flick of a switch. We don't have to do a whole lot of integration to expand on what we have,' he said.

The WMS system is being piloted temporarily for House of Fraser's Bluewater store to make sure that it works properly in time for the City store opening.