At present, about 70 per cent of the products it sells through its nine catalogue brands are distributed by its suppliers, rather than being held at its warehouse.
The system will pay for itself within a year, because Scotts will no longer need to use a mailing house to create paperwork and carrier labels for use by suppliers once a customer has ordered a product. Customers will also receive orders quicker.
Once a supplier is moved onto the system, orders will be processed three or four days quicker, because the mailing house is cut out of the process. Once the system is in place, the company wants to introduce direct shipment from suppliers to customers, which adds between four and five days to order processing at present. This will be possible when Scotts moves to a Royal Mail online business account.
Scotts & Co warehouse operations and logistics director Keith Greasley said: “We want to do the initial launch in the fourth quarter, but because it is our busy period it will be a pilot launch. We will do trials with better quality suppliers and probably those that are local to us so we can drop in easily if there are problems.
“If I am being optimistic, then I want all suppliers on the system well before the middle of next year. We want to hit the larger suppliers first, so we expect half of our business to be on the system by the end of the first quarter.”
Up to 300 suppliers will use the modular system eventually, which Scotts says it chose because Kewill has a track record in the mail order industry and is scalable.