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How Crocs Tackled a Surge in Demand by Popping up a Warehouse in Time for Peak

Decreased training schedule allowed new distribution center associates time to manage and fulfill customer demand.

Crocs is a global leader in innovative, casual footwear for men, women and children. Its product line includes sandals, clogs, sneakers, boots and personalization accessories, called Jibbitz(™) charms.

Crocs opened its Dayton, Ohio distribution center in October of 2019. 40% larger than its previous operation, the new warehouse was expected to deliver 50% more throughput.

But when Crocs' ecommerce volume skyrocketed in 2020, it was beyond the retailer's expectations. Crocs quickly saw the need for a second distribution center to fulfill its customers' ecommerce demand.

Crocs Challenges at a glance

  • Increased ecommerce volume: 75k units/day during peak
  • Needed to hire & train 400 associates
  • Pop-up design required flexible automation solution, fast

The Solution:

  • 51 Chucks off-peak
  • +32 seasonal Chucks
  • Integration with Manhattan WMS
  • Full design, integration & deployment in under 3 months before holiday peak 2020

Results:

  • 182% pick rate improvement
  • Reached full volume within 2 days of go-live
  • Training time reduced from one week to one day

Seeking Support from a Trusted Business Partner

Leaders at Crocs had long trusted Sedlak Management Consultants to advise them on their logistics solutions. After sales outpaced the fulfillment capacity of a brand new warehouse, conversations began with Sedlak to design a separate facility specifically for ecommerce fulfillment.

Rob Fauerbach, Director, Distribution & Logistics, Crocs:

“The real win here is how quickly we got everything up and running. We went from design to development to deployment in less than 3 months, and in time for the holiday peak.”

With a long-term strategy for a fully-automated facility requiring a 2-year timeline, Sedlak designed a 550,000 square foot pop-up warehouse to provide immediate capacity for Crocs’ ecommerce demand. Included in this design was a recommendation to bring in automation to improve throughput, mitigate the risk of labor challenges and optimize capacity.

Dave Teeple, Director of Client Services, Sedlak:

“We looked for ways to automate the process without spending money on something that would be permanently affixed in the building. 6 River Systems was the best solution.”

Enter 6 River Systems

Upon finalizing a solution in August 2020, Crocs brought 83 Chucks into the 550,000 square foot operation, 32 of which were for the holiday peak.

Go-live took place in early October 2020: the site ramped from first pick to full volume in just two days.

The Results

Within the fourth quarter of 2020, Crocs warehouse associates picked roughly 3M units with Chuck, increased their throughput by 182% and exceeded their designed rates by 25%. The go-live ramp-up process took place over two days, reaching 100% system utilization by the end of the second day. Associates no longer had to push or pull manual carts and more than halved their time walking. One week later, the site adopted dynamic zoning into their operation, a software enhancement that further reduced total associate travel by one mile per day.

Training time decreased from one week to one day, saving Crocs 32 hours of training time for each new associate.

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