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Posted Date: 5/1/2003

Brown Shoe: Increasing Visibility into its Pipeline

Brown Shoe operates nearly 1,300 retail shoe stores throughout the United States and Canada, and markets and supplies branded, private label and licensed footwear to department stores, mass merchandisers, independent and specialty stores. The company's retail stores include Famous Footwear and Warehouse of Shoes, and its brand names include Buster Brown, Naturalizer and LifeStride. Overall, the company sources 77 million pairs of shoes each year, with sales reaching $1.8 billion in 2002.

Apparel: Can you describe some of Brown Shoe's strategic goals when it comes to the way the company manages the movement of its goods globally?

Desaulniers: "At Brown Shoe, our goal is to be able to manage and fine tune our complete supply chain on a weekly basis. We are currently working on a series of initiatives to achieve this goal: that means being able to reforecast sales as demand changes, and being able to optimize product flow and margins, while adjusting supply to maximize profit. The weekly logistics flow must be orchestrated like a symphony, with very predictable transit times per lane and complete transparent visibility."

A: What changes in mindset and in process have Brown Shoe and its suppliers had to agree upon and implement in order to work toward meeting these goals?

D: "We are currently implementing a new series of processes that will eventually require changes from all areas of our supply chain. As part of this work, we are asking our factories and logistics service vendors to provide us accurate daily visibility information and collaborate on weekly plans based of the latest sales projections. Much of this information transfer will be Web-based, which will require certain vendors to change their reporting techniques."

A: What technological solutions have been instrumental in your global logistics and transportation management?

D: "We are in the process of implementing a worldwide transportation management system, GC3 from G-Log."


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