Designing an API led strategy

The Client

Clarks is a British-based, international shoe manufacturer and retailer, founded in 1825 by brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, Somerset. Today, Clarks designs, innovates, manufactures and sells more than 50 million pairs of shoes every year, online and through a global branch and partner network.

Based in Street, Somerset, Clarks’ distribution center for the UK and the EU ships on average 75,000 pairs of shoes per day. The existing Warehouse Management infrastructure had already reached its end of life, resulting in lengthy and often cumbersome processes that affected the entire supply chain, from warehouse personnel, to wholesalers, to consumers.

To create a truly connected and automated environment and remove the rigid processes, Clarks procured a new warehouse management application suite.

With the MuleSoft® Anypoint Platform™ already in place, Clarks turned to Coforge to help design an API-led strategy to modernize their warehouse management and distribution center and ensure the seamless integration of their new application suite, without disrupting day-to-day operations.

The Solution

A strategic partner of MuleSoft with long experience in successfully implementing critical integrations in the retail space, Coforge worked with Clarks to design an API-based strategy to seamlessly integrate their new warehouse management application suite with as minimum impact as possible to the daily operations of the distribution centre.

Coforge replaced all existing point-to-point integrations following an API-led connectivity approach. In doing so, the team also ensured that the integration met the governance and data security requirements of Clarks, including proper logging, exception handling, auditing and notification.

The main applications integrated via MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform were SAP, Manhattan and HighJump. In order to achieve high levels of process optimisation and operational efficiencies, all three applications needed to be able to process master data from other legacy applications handling Articles, ASN, Orders, Stock and Dispatches. Following MuleSoft’s API-led connectivity approach, Clarks and Coforge were able to create a unified layer that connects the various legacy and live applications via reusable APIs.

Challenges addressed

  • Adding new Warehouse Management solution vendors without any changes to the SAP
  • Ability to identify and reprocess failed records from the point of failure
  • Near real-time alerting and monitoring of the status of messages
  • Ability to view all the audit history of the records, pending and failed
  • Addition of new capability to manage multiple Distribution Centres in the future
  • Ability to identify and alert for any pending or stuck messages so that an appropriate action can be taken immediately
  • Ability to scale as per load requirements

The Result

Clarks’ warehouse and distribution centre in Street is at the heart of Clarks’ UK and European business operation –online, direct and franchise.

Operational efficiency: By creating a fully connected application ecosystem, Clarks is able to enhance the power of the core operations, making them faster, more effective and at a lower cost.

Optimised performance: Clarks is able to reliably make changes and scale workloads easily, without any major SAP work and with no disruption to the overall operation. Moreover, processing and error diagnosis is now carried out in minutes versus days. Finally, with the inherent flexibility and reusability of APIs, adding new distribution centre and third-party logistics services is going to be easier and faster than before.

Continuous facilitation: with full API-enabled visibility and accessibility of data, Clarks has the opportunity to continuously optimise existing processes and build new use-cases with significantly less time and effort. For the IT team, this means faster delivery for their internal customers, for the business this translates into meeting and exceeding partner and customer expectations.