L.L. Bean earns $1.6 million in annual revenue and ships its iconic catalogues to customers in more than 150 countries around the world. The company is also a long-time Blue Yonder partner. By implementing Blue Yonder’s merchandise financial planning, forecasting and replenishment capabilities, L.L. Bean is now able to more accurately predict sales, appropriately buy products from their vendors and get the right merchandise to the right stores – and into their customers’ hands.
Their improved forecasting, responsiveness and agility was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when, like many other retailers, L.L. Bean experienced a significant shift in demand.
But when COVID-19 hit, L.L. Bean was forced to shift its focus to more short-term solutions. Months of the company’s inventory – especially in categories like bikes, boats, and camping supplies – was sold in a few short weeks. The L.L. Bean team had to read and react quickly to be able to fulfill its mission to help customers live outdoors
Through accurate forecasting and the ability to communicate in real time to vendors, the company was able to react quickly to major, unexpected shifts in demand. Because of this agility, L.L. Bean was able to exceed sales plans in many categories by more than 130% while also reducing inventory liabilities in other areas that were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
With Blue Yonder’s capabilities, L.L Bean was also able to:
- Gain a more accurate market read
- Automate and integrate its processes
- Increase inventory productivity
- Improve customer service levels
Set up for Business Success
In 2019, L.L. Bean implemented a method called ‘slow mover logic,’ which places more reliance on prescribed safety stock instead of imprecise forecast on the lowest level, addressing the majority of SKUs.
This method helped the company immensely when the pandemic hit because it allowed L.L. Bean to utilize inventory for direct sales when stores were temporarily closed. Once stores reopened, the company harnessed the power of dynamic allocation based on historical need variables of prior week sales for deployment calculations.
L.L. Bean was also able to prioritize orders based on store tiers, product profile and product exposure, which was also made possible by retail levers also implemented with the help of Blue Yonder in 2019.