Eight years after opening a successful rock-n-roll themed hamburger joint in Pittsburg, Texas, in 1965, James Cavender decided to try his hand at apparel. More than 50 years later, Cavender’s Boot City is still going strong, with 79 stores across 10 midwestern states — adding about five to seven stores annually — and online. The western wear retailer has kept its customers coming in with a focus on great product and great customer service.
As the chain has expanded, getting product assortments fine-tuned to each store and getting them there at the right time became even more important, but at the warehouse level, the company was dealing with an information gap, where it lost its real-time view into inventory. To remedy that situation, Cavender’s decided to implement Jesta’s warehouse management system (WMS), which integrated easily with its existing merchandising system, also from Jesta. With that addition, the company gained real-time inventory visibility as well as more efficient operations, including the ability to perform carton-level transfers and to receive up-to-date tracking information. With the WMS system it also added a mobile component that further streamlined warehouse operations, as inventory could be managed from anywhere on the floor, using handheld mobile devices.
The implementation went down last fall “with no hiccups,” says Jim Thompson, CFO, who says that overall, the solution has given Cavender’s visibility and efficiency across the organization, from head office, to warehouses, to stores. For the merchandisers in particular, it has improved productivity manyfold, because there is no longer a wait time to find out what products have arrived to the warehouse, and where they are. “There’s a continuous flow of data back and forth,” he says.
Next up, Cavender’s will be implementing EDI as well as getting up to speed on the new features of Jesta’s recent upgrade to its planning solution, which includes a BI module. It’s also implementing a new accounts receivable module to make its corporate sales invoicing more efficient. Cavender’s partners with oil companies, railroads and other large industrial businesses to offer discounts to its employees, who are often required to wear specific OSHA-certified clothing (for example, clothing with flame-resistant properties, or steel-toed boots), which the retailer offers. “Invoicing to deal with the vouchers companies give to their employees has to be handled differently, depending on which company issued them, and Jesta’s system has a lot of good functionality built into it to tailor them to individual companies,” says Thompson.
“When you’re a smaller company like us, you need outside expertise. Jesta see lots of different businesses. They come out here about six times per year. And they always will say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a client doing such-and-such. Have you ever thought of that?’” says Thompson, who adds that he values the attention that the company has received from the tech provider going back to 1997 when they first started working together. “It really helps to have that sort of partnership,” he concludes.
Jordan K. Speer is editor in chief of Apparel. She can be reached at [email protected].
Editor's Note: Cavender's Boot City is a 2018 Apparel Innovator. Read about all of our Award winners here.