When Cork International needed to upgrade manufacturing and distribution systems to ensure Y2K compliance they made sure they invested in a system that could grow with the business
In 1998, even before IBS established a direct presence in Australia, Cork International became a major customer. Implementing ASW Financials in October 1998, Cork went live with ASW Distribution and Manufacturing in January 2000, and has not looked back since.
Cork International’s Head Office is located in Kingsgrove, a south western suburb of Sydney, well placed between the M5 Motorway and the Commuter Railway line.
Cork’s primary business is strongly branded beauty care and hair care products. Its Manicare, Lady Jayne and Cameo brands dominate their respective segments with market shares well in excess of 50% says Geoff Rickwood, company IT Director.
Manicare has the most comprehensive range of quality nail and beauty care accessories on the market today. The depth of range offers a ‘one-stop’ destination point for most beauty accessory needs. The range includes hand and nail treatments, artificial nails, cosmetic brushes and sponges as well as tweezers, nail clippers, files and scissors.
Lady Jayne is the expert in hair accessorising, and offers a range that spans a comprehensive selection of brushes, combs, styling essentials, everyday hair fashion as well as trend and seasonal fashion accessories.
Cameo is a well supported range of hair and beauty care accessories for the more budget conscious woman.
Its major sales channels are pharmacies, department stores, supermarkets and discount stores.
The Cork Australia work force is comprised of 260 full time and 400 part time/casual employees.
Cork Asia-Pacific has sales and warehouse operations in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, with product sourcing managed from Hong Kong.
In addition to the core beauty and hair care consumer product businesses, Cork also:
- supplies impulse merchandising products to supermarkets and discount department stores;
- manages the garment coat hanger supply chain for leading Australian retailers via its Retail Solutions operation
Upgrade or change?
In the late 1990s Cork had to decide whether to upgrade its then software system IMAS to be Year 2000 compliant, as well as to meet the company’s growing requirements and future ambitions, or to go for a completely new system. Through its appointed business partner, IBS stepped in and presented to Cork the ASW solution.
“Cork found the proposed system to be cost effective, well supported, and with IBS’s international reputation and their desire to establish a foothold in Australia, the decision to implement ASW was not hard to make”, says Geoff Rickwood, who joined the company about the same time as ASW was implemented.
“The reason for buying ASW was that it offered increased functionality, greater flexibility and was, of course, ready for the new Millenium.”
Cork´s integrated solution includes financials, distribution, manufacturing, warehouse management, inventory control and business intelligence. The warehouse management module is integrated with the Dexion RDS (Real Time Distribution System) ‘Pick to Light’ system as well as a number of other supporting software systems.
The Asia-Pacific business of Cork International was recently acquired by the publicly listed McPherson´s Limited for $101 million Australian dollars.
Cork produces earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) of around $15 million on sales revenue of $106 million.
The integration of Cork and the Housewares division of McPherson’s is currently underway. McPherson’s Housewares will consolidate the activities of its two warehouses with those of Cork in Sydney, integrating them into the ASW solution.
Cork´s warehouse in Kingsrove is 13,000 square metres and after the McPherson’s integration, will range over 4,000 items within the existing facility. Cork currently processes about 800 orders per day in a 12-hour working shift. Most products are sourced from South East Asia and China with many of them arriving fully packaged ready for sale. “Some products, such as nail clippers, are delivered in bulk and we do the packaging in-house”, says Geoff Rickwood.
At one end of the warehouse, staff work recycling clothes hangers. These come in from stores all over the country, and are sorted into groups, before being shipped back to South East Asia where they are re-used. This process is part of a continuous clothes hanger recycling programme.
However, by far the largest area in the warehouse is dedicated to product picking and distribution. Large transport vehicles regularly deliver goods from suppliers, mostly in shipping containers.
“We receive about 30,000 pallets a year of bulk product”, says Geoff Rickwood, “and we ship out about 7,000 packed boxes each week”.
The workforce picks six million products each month.
Cork receives more than 90% of its orders electronically. The low unit value of the product range, and the short customer lead times, made it imperative that Cork adopt the most cost effective processing methods and systems, and these include electronic processing wherever possible.
“We are very happy with IBS and our ASW solution. IBS continues to upgrade the solution on a regular basis, which makes it possible for us to stay ahead in a very competitive market, maintaining our position as markets leaders”, says Geoff Rickwood.
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