Back eCommerce Logistics for the global online business
Ssense, a Canadian luxury and streetwear retailer
Establish a distribution centre in Belgium to help them expand their operations in Europe
- Cost-effective consolidation of international shipment
- A centralised hub for inbound and outbound deliveries
- An international network that provides flexible logistics solution
When you browse through an online store to order the long-awaited, perfect pair of jeans, you’re excited to get your hands on them as soon as possible. Once you’ve placed the order, there is no time to lose. Countless logistical challenges need to be monitored and navigated in parallel. For Ssense, it was essential to counter these challenges and establish the infrastructure they need to gain more customers and grow their business in Europe.
Ssense is a rapidly emerging leader in eCommerce luxury fashion, currently dressing people in over 150 countries. Kuehne+Nagel has been working with them from a long time, with our Air Logistics team handling their inbound freight, mostly out of Europe. Since they’re based in Canada, their shipment usually had to travel a long way to reach their European customers. To ease the process of deliveries and returns for these customers, they reached out to our Air Logistics Canada team about the possibility of having a central warehouse location in Europe.
Through the conversations, Belgium was selected as the ideal location for the hub. Now we had two major tasks to finish by the end of the year – completing the construction of the distribution centre, and ensuring that Ssense can go live in Europe at the same time, so their European customers can get faster deliveries.
Recognising the relatively short timeline, we swung quickly into action by arranging multiple meetings with the Ssense teams to understand all their requirements. Normally, our teams would have visited their site and had face-to-face workshops on processes and design. However, due to the ongoing coronavirus, all of these crucial meetings had to happen remotely, and we had to be mindful of the different time zones as well. To overcome any communication barriers, we found creative ways to connect with them, conducting regular virtual video tours of the hub and collaborative whiteboard sessions online.
Another major task was shifting their entire EMEA logistics solution from North America to Europe – it included familiarising Ssense with cross docking, a completely new activity for them. Cross docking means that instead of loading the shipment directly from supplier, we use the distribution centre to consolidate shipments from multiple suppliers, effectively reducing their footprint to a minimum. However, Ssense’s existing logistics setup in North America hadn’t consolidated shipments via cross docking before. Furthermore, their business is expanding exponentially – which meant that their numbers and volumes would keep changing along the way. Hence, we kept the processes dynamic and flexible so that it could accommodate their evolving needs. This ensured quick re-designing of the solution when needed, which ultimately led to smooth operations.
Due to the Herculean effort of everyone involved in the project, Ssense went live with its operations in Europe in December 2020. Today, they’re using the high-end distribution centre in Belgium to consolidate their international shipments. They no longer have to send their European stock back to their warehouse in Canada for consolidation – which means significantly reduced waiting time for their customers. By May this year, they’ll also begin using the hub for completing outbound deliveries in Europe.
The success of the entire operation lies in what Ssense can now accomplish for its European customers. Remember how patiently you had to wait to wear those favourite pair of jeans? Today, you can get them at your doorstep in the shortest time possible.