Calm in the
Prolimit, the dominant seller of extreme sports equipment in Latin America, acts to clean up a “mess” at
its distribution center in Santiago, Chile.
he world of extreme sports is
characterized by risky activity
verging on danger and chaos. But
that ethos shouldn’t be reflected
in the industry’s supply chain.
Prolimit Ltd. Co. claims to be the largest
retailer of extreme sports equipment and
apparel in Latin America. With 53 stores
throughout Chile, it sells more than 60 major
brands, including DC, Rusty, Volcom, Hurley,
Etnies, Es and Emerica. Products include
snowboards, surfboards and skateboards.
A growing interest in extreme sports
throughout Latin America has fueled rapid
expansion of the retailer’s business. Currently
it operates 25 Adrenalin board shops within
the stores of Ripley Corp. S.A., one of the
largest retailers in Chile and Peru. Another 28
locations are stand-alone storefronts operating under the Inside board shop brand.
Prolimit found itself in need of a Tier 1
warehouse management system that could
handle the dramatic growth in sales, in
addition to supporting expansion beyond
Chile into other Latin American countries.
The company’s choice of vendor was
Atlanta-based LogFire, LLC, a specialist in
WMS software for retail and consumer-
goods companies. Prolimit was aware of
LogFire’s successful engagement with Ripley, so knowledge of the region wasn’t an
issue, says general manager and chief operating officer Gonzago Aluz.
Prolimit acquired Adrenalin, a former
competitor, about 10 years ago, Aluz says. But
the company had yet to conform the target’s
stocking procedures with its own. A new system was needed to manage all inventories
flowing in and out of its sole distribution center, a 32,300-square-foot facility in Santiago.
Prolimit is a young company, notes
Diego Pantoja-Navajas, chief executive officer of LogFire. It was created a little over a
year ago to place some 175 brands under
one corporate identity. In the process, the
company found itself grappling with a mixture of procedures, each of which involved
a different way of managing inventory. A
single model of shoe, for example, might
carry multiple SKUs.
An Essential Element
Aluz says the WMS project was a top priority for Prolimit. Logistics, he says, “is like the
water for the tree.” An inefficient system at
any stage can put a halt to growth, even in
an environment of strong sales.
Pantoja-Navajas doesn’t minimize the
seriousness of the challenge that Prolimit
was facing. The Santiago DC, he says, “was
a mess. When we got there, inventory was
all over the place. They didn’t know how
old it was.” Products had to be separated by
their various brands. And the facility’s master data record was in dire need of cleaning.
LogFire didn’t just plug a new system into
the Prolimit DC. First, it conducted an exhaustive review of procedures, with an eye
toward reconciling the tangle of products and
SKUs. “We were involved in reshaping their
entire operation,” says Pantoja-Navajas. “We
gave them a lot of advice to put together the