Written by David Renwick
Lorna Jane is an activewear retailer that’s a staple both at home in Australia and, increasingly, on the global market. With stores in an increasing number of countries, Lorna Jane is rapidly growing. The sky’s the limit.
But growth doesn’t come without its challenges, especially when it comes to figuring out how to manage expansion in a scalable way.
For the team at Lorna Jane, especially Global Operations Manager Danny Hancock, logistics, productivity and efficiency are always top of mind.
This is where technology has a huge part to play. Systems that automate the day-to-day, save money and reduce frustration throughout the fulfilment process can not only keep operations running smoothly, but enable consistent growth.
In this case study, we’re going to explore how Lorna Jane uses best-in-class shipping (Starshipit) and warehouse management systems (Peoplevox) to manage a global retail operation, and how these new tools can help all eCommerce businesses achieve scalable growth over the long term.
Lorna Jane is an activewear retailer based in Australia with a global footprint.
Using a combination of best-in-class shipping and warehouse management technologies, Lorna Jane continues to scale efficiently.
Starshipit and Peoplevox has given Lorna Jane total visibility and allowed them to continue to expand globally.
With a head office in Australia and fulfilment operations opening in different countries, visibility was always going to be a challenge for Lorna Jane.
Unlike the early days of the business, the team could see that in order to achieve their lofty growth targets, they’d need multiple distribution centres in different regions to meet demand. Instead of shipping product from Australian warehouses to international markets, they’d need to serve stores and partners directly from multiple distribution centres.
Beyond the day to day, the company would require systems to give visibility of all these different operations to head office in Australia. The best approach? Integrating a warehouse management system capable of streamlining distribution centre management with an automated global shipping solution.
Instead of searching for a one-size-fits-all solution, Danny Hancock knew that the best approach would be to find the best players in each space and link them up. This is where he turned to Starshipit for fulfilment and Peoplevox for warehouse management.
Multiple distribution centres and large teams require visibility and oversight, which Starshipit and Peoplevox can provide. With both systems in place, the team in head office can check the status of stock levels across distribution centres and manage orders across the globe.
The key for Danny were systems that could scale with Lorna Jane. It was critical for him that any systems would be able to keep up with Lorna Jane’s growth, function in all the markets they planned to move into and evolve with them over time.
“I want partners that are constantly changing and evolving their systems. We’re constantly evolving at Lorna Jane and we want to see that in our partners too. We want to create brilliant things together.”
This is an important consideration for any eCommerce operation. Choosing innovative providers that are always working on their own systems is the best way to ensure you’ve got a partner that will be able to grow alongside your business.
International shipping is always hard to get right but using an automated global shipping system can simplify the process drastically. With Starshipit in place, the team can easily manage shipments from all their distribution centres, regardless of country.
“Creating our current shipping approach meant looking at the science of the tipping point. When is the right time to shift? If you’re servicing America, you want to be based in America. You need that experience, and you only get it from being there. But at the same time, if you go too early, you’ll blow a lot of money and take a lot of money away from other areas of the business.”
— Danny Hancock
Being able to ship using a variety of shipping carriers is also key, which all comes back to customer choice. It’s important for Lorna Jane to be able to offer customers a selection at the checkout – options when it comes to shipping carrier, service level and delivery timeframe. Starshipit makes it easy for businesses to offer these choices to customers.
This ability to easily adjust couriers also proved useful for Lorna Jane during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the company could choose different couriers based on performance and pass these choices along to customers.
Choice is everything. Being able to give customers control over their shipping experience is another strong way eCommerce businesses can differentiate themselves from the competition.
Starshipit also helps Lorna Jane to better manage typically tedious processes like customs documentation, taxes, duties and paperwork in general – something which can often become a significant burden when businesses start to expand internationally.
“If you get a simple solution and the right partners, shipping internationally and shipping domestically doesn’t really change too much. It goes in that cage or it goes in the other cage basically. If you get your model right, it shouldn’t be that different.”
— Danny Hancock
Every business will understand the importance of being able to deliver stock to customers quickly and efficiently. For Lorna Jane, two important objectives led to a revision of the shipping model:
By “igniting the stock pool” and unifying all stores under one eCommerce platform, Lorna Jane can massively simplify and systemise the process of shipping orders to customers, regardless of which store the order needs to ship from.
Starshipit is a key player here, making it easy for staff in every Lorna Jane store to access the shipping system and process orders. Prior to using the platform, staff would have to handwrite shipment details on Australia Post shipping bags.
With Starshipit, they can simply print orders off directly and stick them to orders. What’s more, Starshipit can automatically correct addresses which removes a large amount of human error.
“We were trying to create a lot more operational efficiencies in the store. We knew that if we wanted to channel more orders that way, we had to make it a more seamless and faster process for store staff.”
— Danny Hancock
Shipping is only half the story when it comes to a successful eCommerce operation. In addition to a robust system able to handle the entire fulfilment process, businesses need systems in place to support warehouse operations. That’s why Lorna Jane pairs Starshipit with warehouse management system Peoplevox.
Before introducing Peoplevox, Lorna Jane’s warehouse management was largely manual, with the team finding it difficult to manage operations as they opened new distribution centres in different countries. At the individual level, warehouse operations also weren’t as efficient as they could be, with orders consistently becoming a time sink for staff.
Enter Peoplevox. As a tool designed around efficiency, the operations team could have full visibility over inventory in every distribution centre. Staff would also end up walking down fewer aisles to pick orders, and it became easy to space shifts out during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, Lorna Jane has deployed Peoplevox in three countries, using the warehouse management system to easily manage inventory. To get more details on how Lorna Jane used Peoplevox, read the full case study on the Peoplevox website.
“Because of the productivity improvement, I didn’t need as many people to operate our warehouses. I could spread the team out even further. And it gave transparency within the system of where everybody was at. We saw a 35 percent improvement in picking.”
— Danny Hancock
With so many factors to consider, running an eCommerce business is rarely straightforward. Things get even more complicated when you factor in global expansions, new product lines and new staff. Now more than ever, having the right systems in place is key both to support efficient operations – and to set businesses up for the future.
With a robust shipping solution from Starshipit in place, and a warehouse management system from Peoplevox, Lorna Jane has the tools to continue to scale globally.
“Starshipit is a global solution for us. I’ve got one shipping platform that I use across the globe now. I can see all my orders, track any order. All my teams are all using the same platform. Training is easier, because it’s one platform we’re pushing out there. It’s a simple, cost-effective solution because it’s a global solution for us.”
— Danny Hancock
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Lorna Jane’s efforts to onboard the right systems came to bear during Black Friday 2021 when, for the first time in the company’s history, the busiest day of the year was calm and ordered.
The combination of a warehouse management system enabling staff to pick orders and work more effectively, and a shipping solution which simplified the process of getting those orders out the door, made for a largely stress-free day.
“Black Friday was a breeze this year. It was an absolute pleasure. The fruits of all the work that we did really paid off in our busiest time. We pretty much cruised through – but pumped out significant amounts more.”
— Danny Hancock