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Process Integration helps grow a global footwear brand

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.

The Business Challenge

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.

Burdened by disconnected system investments where rigid internal processes had been put in place (which yielded data inconsistencies), and seeing its existing warehouse management infrastructure had now become a burden, Clarks procured a new warehouse management application suite.

But a new system doesn’t get life and functionality by itself. Being fed with good data from existing systems is required, and Coforge provided the partnership required to “plug in” data to the new WMS.

Our Solution

Coforge worked with Clarks to design an API-based architecture and strategy to seamlessly integrate and power their new warehouse management application suite, with minimum impact to the daily operations of the distribution center.

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, exceptional handling, auditing and notification.

Coforge chose to integrate Clarks’ main applications (SAP, Manhattan and HighJump) with MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform. In order to achieve high levels of process optimization 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

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

The Result

Clarks’ warehouse and distribution center at the heart of Clarks’ UK and European business operation were integrated with its online, direct and franchise channels. Now Clarks could use their system investments to truly grow their business, unburdened by previous technical debt.

Operational efficiency: By creating a fully connected application ecosystem, Clarks can enhance the power of the core operations, making them faster, more effective and efficient. As a result of this work, Clarks enjoys reduced operational costs.

Optimized performance: Clarks is able to make changes and scale workloads easily, without any major SAP work and without disruption to the overall operation. Processing and error diagnosis is now carried out in minutes versus days. Finally, with the inherent flexibility and reusability of APIs, adding new distribution center and third-party logistics services is far more straightforward and faster than before. As Clarks wants to grow and optimize, it now has a clean technology canvas from which to operate.

Continuous facilitation: With full API-enabled visibility and accessibility of data, Clarks could continuously optimize existing processes and build new use-cases with significantly less time and effort. The business can now meet and exceed partner and customer expectations, and consider “What if?” scenarios with them, unburdened by previous system burdens. For the IT team, this means faster delivery for their internal customers, and therefore, a new partnership in painting on the blank canvas,

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