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Clipper, the UK’s leading retail and high-value logistics provider, has been working in partnership with Harvey Nichols since April 2005, initially providing warehouse and transport operation from its new 100,000 sq ft Distribution Centre in Northampton. Soon after, Harvey Nichols decided to expand, opening two new stores and venturing into e-commerce.
Clipper have worked closely with Harvey Nichols over the last six years, supporting its growth into new areas and offering solutions for every new request.
Harvey Nichols (“Harvey Nicks”), founded in 1813, is a luxury department store chain. Its flagship store in London, originally founded as a linen shop, offers many of the world’s most prestigious brands in womenswear, menswear, accessories, beauty and food.
February 2003 saw Harvey Nichols return to private ownership, the store having been sold to Debenhams in 1919, which then became part of the Burton Group in 1985. The Hong Kong-based businessman Dr Dickson Poon, whose retail businesses extend to North America, Europe, Japan, China and Southeast Asia, now owns the store.
Harvey Nichols has stores in London, Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Dublin.
Following the initial success of the e-commerce operation set up within the warehouse in 2007, Harvey Nichols decided to look at centralising more of its business, which was outsourced at the time.
The company has a seasonal online hamper business that is historically managed externally. In previous years, hampers had been produced within a two-week window; however, as products are imported from across Europe, delays often put pressure on this build time. Harvey Nichols was therefore looking for a more flexible and efficient solution to maximise skills, experience and capacity at the Distribution Centre, as well as to ensure timely delivery.
Clipper was approached in April 2009 to take over the hamper packing and fulfilment of the seasonal hampers, and to create a tailor-made solution specifically to support and grow the brand.
Based on its ethos of ‘agility matched by ability’ Clipper was quick to respond, working in close partnership with Harvey Nichols to understand and facilitate their exact requirements.
Clipper created a close relationship with the Harvey Nichols food buyer to increase the gift box range. This gives the team access to year-round gifts and they can now create seasonal gift boxes when required.
Clipper established hamper production at the Distribution Centre in Northampton to create greater flexibility for Harvey Nichols, and also recommended basing the Customer Service Desk in-house to improve the customers’ experience. Clipper were able to extend the appeal of hampers across all seasons by tailoring the build to the products that were available at the time, increasing production at very short notice, and reducing time wasted waiting for stock. Clipper also implemented a batch code system, which enabled it to track the expiry dates of every single component in the hampers.
The Customer Service Desk went live at the Distribution Centre in Northampton in September 2009, a couple of months before the anticipated peak for hamper orders. The Clipper team were able to manage this very quickly and replicate Harvey Nichols’ renowned customer service.
The solution has proved very successful for Harvey Nichols, and it is already enjoying significant benefits due to the customer services team being based on site. Building the hampers at the Distribution Centre allows Clipper to make use of off-peak periods and reduces the extra cost to Harvey Nichols, as well as increasing their online offering.
Clipper’s planned strategy of only pre-building half the proposed volumes enabled its teams to build extra hampers for the best-selling lines, and gives the flexibility to quickly respond to demand from the stores and queries from customers to build some bespoke gifts to order.
Building the hampers at the Distribution Centre has reduced costs significantly, and looking forward Clipper predicts that further efficiencies can be created; for example, ordering packaging on behalf of Harvey Nichols will enable greater visibility and stock control.
“Since Clipper took over the hamper packing and build, they have provided us with a much more flexible and cost-efficient service, which has benefited both the business and the customer. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Clipper and to creating further efficiencies across the business.” Martin Schofield, Group IT & Retail Operations, Harvey Nichols
“Because of our vast experience we were able to provide a solution that incorporated a totally new way of looking at the hampers. This allowed us to extend the offering beyond what was expected. We look forward to meeting any new challenges they give us.” Ross Lee, General Manager, Clipper