From being a supplier for the US military in the 1950s to becoming a globally renowned fashion brand – the history of our customer Alpha Industries is quite impressive. In order to remain a pioneer in the fashion scene almost 60 years after the company was founded, the manufacturer of the well-known flight jackets relies on a mixture of classic design, high quality and unusual brand collaborations. The combination works and inspires customers.
In addition to the company’s popularity, Alpha Industries’ requirements for the store system and ERP system were also growing. In the course of a relaunch in 2019, a Shopware shop was therefore created together with our partner agency intoCommerce. The new shop not only makes the flight jackets available for all of Europe in ten different country shops, but also uses Pickware as the official ERP system.
Until 2010, the focus of Alpha Industries was still set on retail stores as well as wholesale and business customers. For a traditional company, which nevertheless always moves with the times, the move into e-commerce and the B2C sector was the next logical step. However, the ERP system by ImPuls fashion, which was used before Pickware and is specially optimized for the textile trade, presented the company with some challenges before launching the new online shop.
Due to the high quality standards that Alpha Industries maintains, Pickware first had to undergo extensive testing. Together with IntoCommerce and in close collaboration with the Pickware customer support, Alpha Industries tested the necessary functions down to the smallest detail. In the end, the advantages and functionality of the integrated ERP system and the barcode scanners of Pickware WMS were convincing on all levels.
“The number of our calls and inquiries to Pickware Support was naturally high shortly before the go-live. The response time within 24 hours and the direct feedback on the phone are very good. The low number of support tickets in the last months is a confirmation for us that our daily business runs smoothly.”
For Alpha Industries one of the biggest challenges in daily business is the local separation of their headquarters and warehouse, as there are almost 350 km between the two locations. This makes smooth communication between warehouse staff and the e-commerce team all the more important. A reliable system that not only communicates in real time but also offers a wide range of services is therefore indispensable. The direct integration of Pickware into Shopware and the intuitive handling of the barcode scanners have accelerated the internal processes around the warehouse and shipping by more than 60 %. Alpha Industries also saves valuable time through being able to train new employees faster.
All new employees first have to learn how to find their way around the almost 5,800 m² of warehouse space. The barcode scanners also have a way to support them, by showing them optimized walking routes. For their warehouse management, Alpha Industries relies on chaotic storage. While picking, Pickware is used to allocate the right bin locations. Further, the use of digital picking lists simplifies the daily routine of warehouse employees and optimizes Alpha Industries’ internal processes. The company differentiates, for example, between marketplace orders or single and multiple items. For orders received via marketplaces, all orders are shipped by 1 p.m. on the same day.
The distance between the warehouse and headquarters plays an important role in the processing of returns. Unjustified complaints must first be documented in the warehouse and then assessed by the responsible employees at headquarters. Thanks to the use of iOS devices including barcode scanner cases, warehouse employees have all the functions of an iPhone or iPod at their disposal. Within Pickware WMS, an image can be attached to incoming returns, documenting the product’s condition and simplifying returns management through real-time updates and location-independent access to data.
“A clear advantage of Pickware WMS is returns management. Due to the distance between our office and our warehouse, we need to be able to exchange data as easily and quickly as possible. Taking a picture directly in the app in the case of an unjustified complaint is very helpful. This allows our employees in the office to directly assess the case and take action.” Christian Hunscha, Director E-Commerce of Alpha Industries Europe
Alpha Industries is currently working on the expansion of a second large packing station. With this next step, the company wants to guarantee same-day shipping and expand its own shipping capacities. Thanks to the continuous development of Pickware, our system adapts flexibly to the growth of Alpha Industries. We are happy about this exciting success story and look forward to exciting projects in the future.