The German fashion retailer SportSpar GmbH is an online shop for clearance and overstock goods from sporting goods brands like Puma, Adidas, Diadora, and Nike.
Since its founding in 2010 by twin brothers Aleksandr and Jevgenij Borisenko, the business has quickly gained a reputation for offering European shoppers low prices on products like cleats, running shoes, leggings, and sports bras, explaining that it’s able to offer bargain prices because it buys discontinued models in large quantities.
Over the past decade, the business has grown quickly from a small specialty operation into one of Germany’s largest e-commerce fashion retailers. To cope with the growth, it moved in 2016 from its original headquarters and warehouse site in Gangelt, West Germany, to Eilenburg, near Leipzig, an area that boasts better transportation infrastructure with a larger airport, train stations, and autobahn access. The company expanded again in 2018, this time branching out virtually into new internet territories. It now operates e-commerce websites in six countries.
But with a limited staff that didn’t top 100 employees until 2021, the business found it would need to boost efficiency in its warehouse fulfillment operations to handle that steep growth. So when it recently moved to a larger distribution center in Eilenburg, SportSpar decided to invest in a new warehouse management system (WMS).
The system it chose was the cloud-based e-commerce WMS from Descartes Systems Group Inc. Part of Descartes’ e-commerce shipping and fulfillment suite, the WMS solution is designed to allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, e-commerce retailers, and traditional retailers to rapidly scale up while preserving a good end-customer experience, the developer says. Among other benefits, Descartes says the software helps ensure that clients can ship on time, ship the right items, avoid overselling existing inventory, and have transparency into their warehouse operations.
Since being deployed in SportSpar’s operations, the new WMS has helped the company move from manual, single-order fulfillment to optimized multi-order–picking processes. After the WMS went live, the Borisenkos were able to increase the number of parcels shipped sixfold—from 50 to 300 a day—without adding resources, according to Johannes Panzer, head of industry solutions for e-commerce at Descartes.
That improvement came through “automated fulfillment processes” that sped up order selection through route-optimized multi-order wave picking, Panzer says. The WMS also allows the retailer to create pick batches to prioritize and group similar orders, cutting throughput time. On top of that, the system’s scanner-based processes mean workers can now update stock and collect tracking data with a swipe of a bar code.
“Early on, we realized that our manual, inefficient order fulfillment processes were limiting growth,” SportSpar’s co-founder and co-managing director, Aleksandr Borisenko, said in a release. “Descartes’ automated fulfillment processes work well, are simple, and can help us expand our product catalog as much as we want. Since implementation, we’ve scaled our processes, purchased a higher number of products, and shipped substantially more customer orders.”