Urban Outfitters, Inc. is an innovative specialty retail company which offers a variety of lifestyle merchandise to highly defined customer niches. They have an established ability to understand their customers and connect with them on an emotional level. The reason for this success is that their brands — Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN — are both compelling and distinct. Each brand chooses a particular customer segment, and once chosen, sets out to create sustainable points of distinction with that segment. In the retail brands, they design innovative stores that resonate with the target audience; offer an eclectic mix of merchandise in which hard and soft goods are cross merchandised; and construct unique product displays that incorporate found objects into creative selling vignettes. The emphasis is on creativity. Their goal is to offer a product assortment and an environment so compelling and distinctive that the customer feels an empathetic connection to the brand and is persuaded to buy.
Urban Outfitters wanted to consolidate their North American internet sales distribution into one location in Gap, PA. The Philadelphia-based retailer built their immense new 1.1 million square-foot state-of-the-art e-commerce facility so it could respond faster and more efficiently to rapidly growing consumer sales via its website. The distribution center has multiple levels of automated sorting and conveying systems in place to process orders quickly and effectively alongside traditional shelving & storage systems as well.
Urban Outfitters reached out to Tony Bieszczat of Meyer Material Handling Products, Inc., their Rousseau products representative. They needed his help with designing a solution for hundreds of workstations with multiple configurations to support their new e-commerce facility’s operations. Urban Outfitters had prior experience with standard workbench setups which Tony and Meyer Material Handling had provided for other locations within Urban Outfitters’ distribution system. The company’s employees were very happy with the high quality of Rousseau’s products as well as the wide array of options and accessories available for highly configurable layouts. They were also very pleased with the level of service provided by their Rousseau specialist so it was an obvious choice to reach out to Meyer Material Handling Products for this project as well.
Tony worked with Urban Outfitters corporate representative Steve Morris and facilities manager Justin Owens on this new distribution center project. Rousseau’s specialist conducted a site visit with Steve to ascertain all requirements and specifications. The first challenge encountered was to define the best workbench configurations for specific tasks. Due to operational space constraints and the ergonomic considerations for employees using the workstations, both mobile and standard pick/shipping workstations needed to be designed and arranged. These would provide access to all the various supplies needed, while each workstation also needed to be powered and support mounted electronic equipment mounted on the workstations. Various Rousseau Metal accessories were used in the different setups so each employee would have the most efficient work environment possible. To complete the solution, Rousseau even designed some accessories that were previously not available. Tony worked closely with Rousseau engineering and support staff to develop custom accessory solutions that provided exactly what Urban Outfitters were looking for on their specialized workstations. As Meyer’s specialist explained, “Rousseau’s sales and support staff are among the best I have ever worked with in the industry. This is why I feel confident providing Rousseau solutions to my customers.” The final setups were functional, ergonomic and also looked very “distinctive,” just like the rest of Urban Outfitters’ new e-commerce distribution center.
The second challenge was to provide hundreds of specialized and customized workstations to Urban Outfitters’ new Gap facility on time, and for Rousseau Metal Inc.’s distributor to assemble the finished workstations in appropriate areas in the 1.1 million square-foot facility. Rousseau worked hard with their internal operations and external vendors to establish an appropriate delivery schedule. Shipping the entire project required many truck-loads and Rousseau achieved this on time so that Meyer’s installation crew could install everything in the correct order and according to plan. Rousseau representative Eric Chamard was also on-site at the beginning to ensure the project started successfully, which was greatly appreciated by both the distributor and customer. Urban Outfitters was very pleased with the effective collaboration between the different teams throughout the project. “Working with Tony and Rousseau has been a smooth and pleasant experience” claimed Justin Owens, Facility Manager.
The Urban Outfitters project proved to be a big success. Mr. Tony Bieszczat from Meyer Material Handling Products, Inc., in collaboration with Rousseau’s team and Urban Outfitters staff identified the challenges and developed solutions to meet the customer’s expectations in terms of ergonomics and functionality as well as respecting the project’s tight deadlines.