GARMENTS & APPAREL LOGISTICS 2005 - Gucci is “All About Quality,” logistics included

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By Karen E. ThuermerThe name Gucci conjures a vibe of exclusivity and prestige, an Italian brand of quality. Founded in 1921 in Florence, Italy, Gucci is now one of the world‚s leading purveyors of personal luxury goods with its Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, and Balenciaga brands. Perhaps for that reason it should be no surprise that Switzerland, a nation also known for quality, is home to the Gucci Group’s Luxury Goods International and its Bioggio Logistic Centre. Located on the fringes of Lugano in Switzerland’s Italian Canton of Ticino, the Bioggio Logistic Centre operates as Gucci‚s central distribution center for all its goods be it leather accessories, handbags, belts, shoes, ties, scares, ladies wear, and men‚s wear.
“From here we ship to all of the world,” says Luca Mavaro, Luxury Goods International general manager. But it is perhaps the centerŒs location on the Italian border that is key. “We located our distribution center in Ticino because our suppliers are mainly in Italy,” says Mavaro. “There are cultural similarities and good road connections.” In addition, Switzerland is centrally located to the whole of Europe and its workforce is reliable. Since Gucci caters to discriminating retailers with demanding clients, the company finds reliable service and expeditious handling paramount. Europe Gucci, alone, operates some 60 stores with Italy being its largest market.
“For all company brands there are about 100 stores and some 1,000 wholesalers in Europe,‰ Mavaro reveals. Small but Mighty Touring the logistics center, this AJOT writer found the facility to be ultra modern, not overwhelmingly big, and extremely clean and efficient. The center encompasses 9,400 square meters of warehouse space spread between three levels. It has 28,000 square meters of work space with 10.6 meter interior heights. Its capacity totals 100 cubic meters, which equals 7.5 million individual units per year.
“Our most important challenge is meeting the demands of seasonality,” remarks Michele Buttazznoi, logistics operations manager. “When we talk of volumes, we talk of picks. We have two big picks per year: the Christmas season (which includes the fall/winter season) and the spring/summer season. The Christmas season, which starts in July, and can vary from anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 units in/out per day. At that time we receive 350 cubic meters of goods per day with seven to eight truckloads inbound and outbound on average daily.” For the fall season, which runs from September to December, the company ships orders in the spring.
“In January we start prepping for fall-winter orders,” Buttazzoni says. “At the end of the season, we ship out-of-season goods for special sales in shops, and after that, we ship to outlets for next season.‰ In the fashion industry, it is all about hitting the market at the right time. “All product planning for ready-to-wear goods and quality control are done here,” Buttazzoni adds. “We use mostly smaller sized cartons at this facility for such items such as handbags. The largest units we deal in are two pallets, which totals roughly a square cubic meter.”
Since the company supplies high end clothing, the center also deals with garments on hangers (GOH). Products arrive the center via two consolidation centers in Italy: one in Florence and the other in Novara, Italy. Novara supplies the ready-to-wear goods as well as accessories and silk items. Florence provides the shoes and leather goods.
“We are given advance notice via our warehouse management system, so know what will be coming from what suppliers 24 hours in advance including SKUs, number of pallets and cartons, etc.,‰ Buttazzoni says. All messages are transmitted via EDI. Efficient by Design The way the warehouse is laid out is indicative of the company’s goal to be accurate and efficient. The first level handles the company‚s fast-moving items. The second level contains flat goods; and the third level, those items that are not as impacted by seasonality. “The fa

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American Journal of Transportation