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How an Apparel Company Moved from a 3PL to In-House Distribution

Ryan Reed | 17 October 2019

Adore Me is a women’s apparel company producing a variety of designer lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear and activewear - with a mission to empower women and spark confidence.

After previously relying on a third-party logistics company to handle shipments to its global customer base, Adore Me knew it was time to bring its order fulfillment operations in house. The company introduced Adore Me Services to support its 50 percent year-over-year growth and improve customer shipping times. Located in Secaucus, New Jersey, the 130,000 square foot distribution center ships orders across the U.S. and internationally.

Material Handling Solutions Included

  1. Intelligent Supply Chain Software & Goods-to-Person Automation

As orders are received, the Exacta warehouse execution system intelligently builds batches of work to maximize order and product commonality using a proprietary order grouping algorithm.  This makes Adore Me’s goods-to-person robotic storage system called AutoStore much more efficient. Exacta manages the inventory inside the AutoStore system and uses demand-based wave picking to batch up to 400 orders at a time. This allows operators to pick items for multiple orders from each presentation of an AutoStore bin, and picking operators are 2.7 times more productive due to the high order commonality. Each operator is capable of fulfilling over 700 order lines per hour.

The fastest moving SKUs are slotted in a pick module and are picked via light-directed picking.  As orders arrive, Exacta assigns picks to the AutoStore or the light-directed pick module to fulfill a customer’s order.

  1. Light Directed Picking

For high velocity picking of fast-moving SKUs, Bastian Solutions implemented pick-to-light to give employees an easily operated process. Exacta groups bays/aisles into work areas so picking locations can be allocated to multiple operators. Light picking is also used to confirm picks from the goods-to-person system.

  1. Conveyor Systems

Once picked, products travel in totes through the ZiPline Conveyor system to one of three sortation areas: single line pack stations, light-directed, double deep putwalls or a new technology called Sure Sort, a scalable, cost-effective small item sortation system.  Exacta manages the flow of product to each area to prevent conveyor or operator backlogs.

  1. OPEX Sure Sort

The majority of Adore Me’s SKUs, however, are small, making them ideal for sortation via OPEX Sure Sort. Operators induct products from the totes into one of two Sure Sort unit sorters. Items are scanned through a 6-sided scan tunnel, associated to an order, and transported via shuttle to a holding bin. Once all line items on an order reach the assigned Sure Sort bin, a light alerts an associate to move the completed order to the correct shipping container.

  1. Light Directed Putwall

Operators sort larger items or orders at one of the double-deep putwalls. Orders are assigned on-demand to a location within the putwall as product is scanned. Once the order is completed, a light signals an associate to push the order back to a staging location on the back-side of the putwall.  The front location is free to continue sorting while the pack operators removes the items and packages for shipping and adds any promotional material required.  The same Exacta Mobile application is used to pack out orders from the Putwall and SureSort.

  1. Outbound Solutions

All packaged orders, whether coming from the single line pack stations, putwalls or Sure Sorts, are conveyed over an inline weight scale, manifested and a shipping label is applied before the package is palletized for shipment to a nearby parcel facility. 


The Results

  • The new system achieves two-day shipping on all e-commerce orders, an improvement from previous operations which would take several days to prepare orders.
  • Order pickers are 2.7 times more productive due to Exacta software's batch picking organization with the AutoStore system.
  • The facility shipping capacity is 10,000 e-commerce orders per shift. Hourly capacity tops out at 1500 orders per hour, picked by roughly 8 operators. This is 2-3 times the amount previously handled.


With the right people, processes, and technology; Adore Me has been able to continue improve its promise to serve their customers. With an advanced order fulfillment center, Adore Me can now ship faster, lower the cost of shipping, and provide overall better customer service.


Author: Ryan Reed

Ryan is a logistics consultant with Bastian Software Solutions based in Louisville, Kentucky. He has worked at Bastian Solutions since 2015. He earned both his BSIE and MBA degrees from the University of Missouri.


Peter Black says:
10/30/2019 08:02 AM

Excellent information related to material handling equipment for an aerial platforms.

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