The Supply Chain Matters blog once again highlights online fashion start-up Rent the Runway and ongoing efforts to streamline this start-up’s customer fulfillment and logistics experiences.
In a published blog commentary in October of 2019, Supply Cain Matters provided our perspectives on the then termed supply chain disruption surrounding Rent the Runway, a very hip and innovate online provider whose business model is equated to be either the “Netflix of Clothing” or “Putting the Closet in the Cloud.”
The New York based online services provider is a relatively young company, created to be a disruptor in woman’s fashion and clothing needs. The company was founded in 2009 by Harvard Business School grads Jennifer Hyman, now CEO and Jennifer Fleiss.
Last fall’s rather visible disruption involved cascading snafus in implementing a major software conversion and the start-up of a second customer fulfillment center to support customer growth.
This blog essentially took a different, perhaps broader perspective related the business process and information systems crisis, with our usual perspective of what our supply chain management community can learn.
The provider’s customer fulfillment needs are indeed highly specialized, broader than WMS and TMS systems, and featuring full reverse logistics components as well. The underlying software applications technology was developed in-house from scratch, to accommodate custom algorithms, sophisticated reservation allocation of item-level inventory along with specialized logistics synchronization. The company’s New Jersey warehouse facility is pegged as the largest dry-cleaning operation within a warehouse. The average rented garment inventory turnaround is noted as 30 times.
Our reader takeaway in October was that the journey is not limited to a one-time, highly visible event, but to how a fast flying business prioritizes resources and decisions that balances both customer, business and shareholder needs. Too often, they become misaligned, and that remains the substance of business case study learning.
Last week, Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal reported that this unique online services provider has now tapped three senior customer fulfillment and logistics executives for its leadership ranks, including a new Chief Supply Chain Officer (CSCO). RTR’s previous CSCO reportedly departed the company last fall as a result of the customer fulfillment disruption crisis.
Brian Donato, a former Vice President of Amazon’s North America and Worldwide Amazon Fresh operations will assume the CSCO role on March 16.
Donato leadership role at Amazon reportedly includes management of North America customer returns in addition to leading a part of a part of Amazon’s North America Fulfillment Network. The executive told the WSJ that RTR’s business model is one of a unique experience involving customer fulfillment processes that are closed loop, involve ordering and selection, shipment, garment return and reprocessing.
Reportedly, Donato will report directly to RTW CEO Jennifer Hyman.
In January, Mike Roth, a former Vice President of Amazon Global Customer Fulfilment was appointed to part of RTW’s Board of Directors.
The online provider additionally recruited senior transportation executive Michael Indresano, a former Senior Vice President for Walmart’s online commerce operations, whose resume included management roles at Amazon and FedEx.
Once again it is worth reiterating that RTR is pioneering a completely different online business model that leverages all facets of advanced technology, reverse logistics and customer intelligence. There are obviously high aspirations related to more explosive growth and services expansion.
With the now addition of three experienced and high-powered customer fulfillment and logistics executive leaders, RTR has demonstrated a bold recognition of the core importance of synchronized customer fulfillment business process, software technology and cross-function team leadership has in delivering expected business outcomes.
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