VARGO® Customizes COFE® for Startup Retailer

Custom apparel business takes advantage of COFE® SaaS for smaller order numbers at its new manufacturing facility

HILLIARD, Ohio—When a national e-commerce startup that produces custom apparel was planning a manufacturing and fulfillment facility, it turned to VARGO® because the startup’s founders knew they needed a material handling expert that could design equipment to handle a growing e-commerce business.

VARGO® installed its COFE® Software as a Service (SaaS) at this client’s new facility in Kentucky, where the retailer began processing orders in late February. The e-commerce retailer is not the first to benefit from VARGO®’s revolutionary COFE® technology, but it is the first SaaS installation for VARGO®.

The powerful COFE® (Continuous Order Fulfillment Engine) system—the first warehouse execution system that processes orders within a distribution center using a demand-driven waveless approach—is available in a SaaS version that is a fully functional, base version of COFE®. COFE® SaaS makes the highly efficient system available at a pricing structure geared toward smaller companies that process as few as 2,000 orders a day. Using the pull-based methodology in COFE®, companies realize a lower order cycle time and benefit from greater flexibility for expediting orders. Larger companies using the COFE® system, for example, can process a half million orders with cycle times measured in minutes, compared to hours or days with a push-based system.

The e-commerce fashion retailer has offices on the East and West Coasts and in February opened the manufacturing and fulfillment facility that eventually will employ about 300 people. The company’s customers are people who want to design and sell custom apparel online and require a fast turnaround on their orders. When the retailer was planning the facility, the founders knew they needed a system that could expertly handle the logistics of everything from processing the order to manufacturing and shipping. The company outsources the printing and then ships the apparel to the customers. The facility began processing orders in late February.

“Our warehouse execution system is handling and orchestrating everything for them,” said Bart Cera, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at VARGO®. “It will manage the fulfillment of all orders, from picking to the printing process and shipping.”

COFE® is a highly configurable Warehouse Execution System that directs material handling equipment as well as devices, people and processes. It synchronizes direct-to-consumer workers with the equipment as they pull orders through distribution centers. Although COFE® SaaS is a base version, it has the ability to expand and integrate highly automated equipment as well through additional modules as needed. As a company expands, the warehouse execution system can maintain operational flow. It also integrates sortation systems, automated storage and retrieval systems, conveyors, additional RF users and additional user licenses.

COFE® SaaS allows a client such as this startup e-commerce business to manage its orders with a lean distribution system, just as a larger company might, but with a smaller investment.

“The pricing structure enables small, growing e-commerce companies to get into a base version of COFE® without making a large upfront capital investment,” Cera said.

Smaller companies using the new pricing structure can now pay based on usage, or a per item basis. Through the innovative pricing structure, smaller companies—which process as few as 2,000 orders day or 44,000 units a week—can now have the same tools, bells and whistles that much larger companies have. They will be able to take advantage of the same efficiency related benefits that the larger operations have realized as a result of mechanizing some of their processes.

The benefits of the COFE® system are seen almost immediately. Using the pull-based methodology, companies will realize a lower order cycle time and will benefit from greater flexibility for expediting orders. In addition, COFE® SaaS, which includes a fully functional demand-driven order fulfillment system, provides management tools that allow a company to see, in real time, what is happening in its distribution center.