Supply Chain Warehouse

Project Timing is Everything for Half Price Books

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Chris Elliott, Consulting Manager, Supply Chain

Family-owned bookstore chain, Half Price Books hit a growth spurt that lead to innovating their stores and wholesale subsidiary by implementing Manhattan Scale to manage their warehousing needs. They then took it a step further by working with Blue Horseshoe to reconfigure their warehouses to boost efficiency. Now facing some time constraints, Half Price Books needs to complete the project before peak season.

Timing is Everything

The project was a reconfiguration of an existing distribution center and Half Price Books’ operation steam still needed to do business as usual while parts of the distribution center were closed off. While it meant working in tighter areas during the hot Texas summer months, James said the staff handled the short-term inconvenience swimmingly.

Holiday peak also posed challenges. The distribution center project began in late July, and the conversion was completed in late September. This left a tight window to train the Half Price Books staff on the new processes and make necessary revisions to the warehouse management software.

The warehouse employees were very eager to learn new processes and get to work, which made the training period transition a smooth one. Some of the supervisors were able to begin training others almost immediately, which allowed Blue Horseshoe’s team to focus on other parts of the optimization project.

Working Partnership

James says that the interaction between Half Price Books and Blue Horseshoe was very good. The partnership also did not end when the implementation went live. Blue Horseshoe made follow-up visits after the go-live to troubleshoot work flows, ensure the configurations were working correctly, and more.

“They did a great job with the project management, whether it was keeping people on task,
pointed in right direction, or redirected in a collaborative matter,” James said. “Blue Horseshoe
was very willing to jump in and help manage the training process for the staff by creating
training documentation and anything else that was needed.”

Mission Accomplished

Before the distribution center reconfiguration, James said it was challenging for Half Price Books to access key performance metrics that didn’t have to be taken with certain grains of salt. Since they’ve changed the pick process it’s taken the vagueness out of processes and made evaluation more transparent. Before the reconfiguration, the KPIs on user performance were not actionable or accurate.

“In the past month we have been able to get good data for user production and shift production and have been able to put a finer point on those metrics,” James says. “Before we really did not have good methodology to get there and relied on high degree of interpretation as to what were objective and fair performances.”

James also touted the great working relationship between Half Price Books and Blue Horseshoe
throughout the entire process. “Our interaction with the Blue Horseshoe team was very positive,” James says.

Download the case study to learn how Half Price Books started their transformation journey.

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