Polarn O. Pyret (PO.P) was established in Sweden in 1976, and today the brand designs, produces and distributes baby and childrenswear throughout the Nordics, UK and the USA. Since inception, PO.P’s philosophy has been “let children be children”. Their initial objective was to make life easier for working families, by making hard-wearing cotton clothes for children that could be worn, loved then handed down time and time again.
PO.P have strived to increase their percentage of sustainably produced clothing year on year. Now in 2019, 80% of their range is made from more ecofriendly fabrics. From 0-1Y collections made entirely of organic cotton to swimwear out of recycled fishing nets and technical outerwear made fully or partially from old plastic bottles.
Not only are their clothes made from sustainable fabrics they are also designed to grow with each child and then be passed on to family or sold through popular second-hand markets. Every garment is designed to last at least 3 children, showing true value and sustainability.
In early 2012, PO.P began outgrowing their existing UK operations and looked to Clipper for support. Clipper’s expertise in working with emerging businesses, capable of supporting their transition from start-up to established brand helped cement their decision to appoint Clipper as a partner. The solution removed capacity constraints and allowed PO.P to concentrate on core business functions, leaving Clipper to run the warehousing and distribution elements of the business.
In March 2012, the partnership commenced with a four-year contract at Clipper’s Ollerton facility, which grew quickly and created a requirement to increase the operational footprint by 20% within a three-month period.
Clipper’s responsibility was to manage e-commerce and returns for PO.P within the UK and Southern Ireland, but this quickly evolved to incorporate store distribution for 15 stand alone stores and concessions.
To support PO.P, Clipper implemented systemic and operational process changes to optimise the visibility of orders and their prioritisation, which included the implementation and use of hand held terminals for receipt, put away and PI processes, which ensured that customer returns could be refunded immediately on PO.P’s system to remove manual processing of refunds at head office. In addition to this, Clipper quickly reduced what was originally a 3-5 day lead-time for standard deliveries to a 2 day standard service with a next day proposition being implemented with a 6pm cut off.
In 2018, PO.P’s significant growth saw their layout and operational space reach a stage where remodelling was required within the operation to facilitate forecasted growth. During this time, Clipper relocated the operation within the warehouse with no impact to service KPIs, amending the layout, sequencing and storage locations. The remodel saw significant productivity and cost savings, which PO.P could then reinvest into the operation to further enhance the working environment for staff, who are viewed as part of the PO.P family. Consequently, operational space increased by a further 140% to support continued growth.
The operation has contributed to the employment of one field logistics manager, one team leader and six core heads, allowing PO.P to flex their working hours during peak periods. As a result, Clipper now also supports store transfers between branches and warehouse operations in order to allow for rapid redistribution of stock within the business.
PO.P and Clipper have also implemented bespoke picking trolleys to both perpetuate enhanced picking efficiency and to be appropriate for the order profile. To complement this, their operational benches have been designed to suit the operational requirements of packing, offering operatives an ergonomic workstation, and bins have been provided to promote splitting of recyclable waste.
Clipper have seen a large growth in processed units with PO.P since 2012. There has been a 400% increase in average weekly units. Clipper is also now supporting PO.P with their efforts to further improve the reduction and recycling of packaging materials.
This demonstrates Clipper’s ability to truly add value to businesses through understanding their strategic direction and growth aspirations.