By Eva-Lotta Jonsvik, Press Officer & PR Manager, Microsoft Sweden
To manage its expanding e-commerce, fashion chain Lindex has established a logistics system that is developed in the framework Windows Store apps for Windows 8. It has improved the quality of inventory management, and productivity has increased by 30 per cent.
Lindex is a Finnish owned fashion chain in the Stockmann group with with over 470 stores in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia, Central Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. The product range includes fashion lines for women, children, lingerie, and most recently LXM, a collection for men that is only available online. E-Commerce has become a very central part of the business (it is available across all 28 countries in the EU and Norway) Customers touch, feel and try on garments in store. If they prefer to have the product home delivered, they can order the garments online. Stores and e-commerce in fact becomes the same channel. The company started with e-commerce in 2007, but it is only in the last two years that development really gained momentum, and the turnover has doubled.
“The new logistics solution has increased the order, control, accuracy and quality of inventory management significantly. Productivity has also increased and lead times are reduced. This in turn creates more satisfied customers, more orders and increased sales,” says Mats Olsson, logistics Director at Lindex.
The inventory is located in Partille, from where goods are sent out to the e-commerce customers on all markets – all 28 EU countries and Norway.
Previously, the company had a simple paper-based inventory management system which was part of the company’s e-commerce solution. “As our E-commerce expanded, we grew out of the system solution, as well as of physical space. We needed to implement a scalable logistics solution. Inventory management had to become more efficient and we wanted to get rid of handling paper,” says Mats Olsson.
Lindex’s IT partner 3bits Consulting was asked to develop the new system. 3bits proposed to build an application in the development framework in Windows Store apps, which Lindex welcomed.
The solution is based on Windows 8 touch screen devices. They communicate with the server through a Microsoft technology called Windows Communications Foundation (WCF). It is based on Microsoft SQL Server, as the database. The Windows Store is a digital distribution platform in Windows 8 for these types of apps, which are called Windows Store apps.
“The employees get all information on their Windows tablets. We no longer have to deal with all the papers and transcripts. It saves us time and money, reduces the risk of manual errors.”
“It is possible to create very good applications in the framework for Windows Store apps. This, combined with WCF, provides a stable environment,” says Stefan Winterlén, CEO of 3bits Consulting. In connection with the switch to the new system, the storage space was also extended. The internal name of the logistic system is the Lindex eWMS. “The employees get all information on their Windows tablets. We no longer have to deal with all the papers and transcripts. It saves us time and money, reduces the risk of manual errors, and is also good for the environment,” says Mats Olsson.
Lindex e-commerce will continue to grow for a long time going forward. “Our vision is to offer a world-class fashion experience. With this logistics solution, we feel confident about the future. We can scale up the system as sales increases. We will also establish e-inventory on other locations with the same solution shortly,” says Mats Olsson.