Quality Digest  |  02/27/2009

Improve Efficiency and Increase Competitive Advantage

Avatar Partners’ Electronic Commerce Solutions

In the world of nationwide retail, margins are tight, timing is essential, and inventory management will make or break a company’s success. Third-party logistics (3PL) providers work with major retailers and provide a broad range of fulfillment services. They make the complex process of delivering goods through the entire distribution process as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Westcoast Warehousing, based in Southern California, is a 3PL that partners with some of the largest and best-known retailers in the United States, including JCPenney, Sears, and Kohl’s. Key services offered by Westcoast Warehousing include pick-and-pack, and direct-to-store (DTS) replenishment, as well as options that allow retailers to ship product in bulk directly to Westcoast Warehousing, which maintains a six- to eight-week supply of inventory on the retailer’s behalf.

Retailers place weekly orders and product is shipped accordingly via prepacked boxes. This relieves retailers of the massive infrastructure and expense associated with in-house logistics and inventory management, and provides significant cost-savings combined with increased efficiency and flexibility.

To make this system efficient and profitable for all parties, Westcoast Warehousing needed to implement an electronic commerce supply-chain platform that would allow retailers and customers to communicate directly with Westcoast Warehousing servers. Jay Patel, founder and president of Westcoast Warehousing, knew that implementing a world-class solution that supports all forms of business-to-business (B2B) commerce, including electronic data interchange (EDI), radio frequency identification (RFID), and supply-chain visibility, would require specialized expertise.

Avatar Partners, based in Irvine, California, was selected to assist Westcoast Warehousing through a new phase of growth. Avatar Partners provides supply-chain visibility and electronic commerce solutions, with a well-deserved reputation for comprehensive, forward-thinking solutions and a cost-effective approach. It provides recommendations and implementation services based on what is in the best interest of the customer.

Westcoast Warehousing needed a scalable electronic commerce supply-chain solution that would be affordable and flexible to allow migration to future technologies.

The first essential step in the process was analyzing the needs of Westcoast Warehousing, from a short-term and long-term perspective, and recommending the most cost-effective course of action. Avatar Partners conducted a needs analysis for the electronic commerce system, including mapping, trading-partner testing, and implementation requirements. It then recommended changes in procedures, processes, and infrastructure.

“We maximized supply-chain visibility, making trading-partner collaboration and system- and operational-integration intrinsic to their business processes,” says Jim Williams, executive vice president for Avatar Partners.

Avatar Partners considered the extensive needs of a logistics company that must support the demands of the retail supply chain. After reviewing all solutions in the B2B market segment, Williams and his team identified the solution that would match Westcoast Warehousing’s needs and elevate its competitive positioning in the marketplace. It then helped the company implement and go live on this newly selected EDI platform in less than two months.

Following this period of analysis and recommendations, Avatar Partners moved into the implementation phase of the project with the selected software vendor, Inovis Inc. The final solution is planned for multichannel support and is upgradeable.

The solution allows Westcoast Warehousing to support suppliers of all sizes from all over the world. Avatar Partners plans to integrate the robust Inovis supply-chain platform with a Gen2 RFID system to satisfy the demands of Westcoast Warehousing’s largest customers. Avatar Partners also provided a full-service implementation of the Inovis platform and training for the Westcoast Warehousing staff.

“Without the Avatar Partners team and the robust Inovis products, we would not yet be doing business with many of the top-tier retailers who now trust us with their business,” says Patel.

Westcoast Warehousing is now able to offer expanded defense travel system (DTS) services--a solution that is highly convenient and cost-effective for its customers, and profitable for the company.

This solution for Westcoast Warehousing proves that a behind-the-firewall EDI package that directly integrates into an ERP system can be cost-effective and put much greater control of a company’s systems into its own hands.


Avatar Partners’ Electronic Commerce Solutions


  • In-depth analysis of client’s current and future needs
  • Identifying best-fit software solutions for ERP and supply-chain management
  • Complete implementation and training for chosen solution



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