Industry Insight

Fashion logistics for Hugo Boss in Canada

“Repeatedly going beyond existing boundaries!”

Short product cycles, high implementation speeds and enormous demands on the adaptability of all participants dominate the supply chains of the fashion industry. Fashion companies are therefore dependent on logistics partners who can realise these maximum requirements with the highest level of commitment, know-how and an extensive network of storage capacities.

Hugo Boss has been setting standards around the world both as a successful fashion company and a renowned fashion brand for decades.

The company landed a real marketing coup at the end of the 1980s when it was commissioned to provide the clothing for the American attorney series entitled ‘L.A. Law’ – and through this it gained a reputation for being an outstanding ‘créateur de mode’ around the globe.

The company, which has its headquarters in Metzingen, has been able to continue this process with its timelessly elegant styles in the premium fashion segment ever since.

Luxury means quality at all levels

Any firm which views ‘luxury’ as a key element in its corporate brand knows that quality is both the goal and the central precondition for all its corporate activities. Only if quality has been safeguarded at all levels – ranging from the fashion designs and the selection and workmanship of the materials to packaging and labelling, and even the sales and shipment of items to customers – can the ‘luxury’ tag be a permanent feature of its own brand. Deidre Lue, Senior Manager, Purchasing & Imports at Hugo Boss Canada Inc., is aware of this standard in every fibre. ‘It’s our task to ensure that each individual item represents the Hugo Boss brand.’ And she adds, ‘The expectations of customers who buy Boss clothing items are high anywhere in the world. They therefore not only include the item itself, but also the way that it is sold or shipped.’

Deidre Lue’s employer, Hugo Boss Canada, purchases all its supplies from Germany and Turkey. The Canadian City of Toronto acts as the hub and the goods arrive there via air or sea freight at weekly intervals; they are then forwarded to regional distribution centres or directly to the points of sale from there. Maximum involvement in the cooperation arrangement with the logistics firm is the absolute key to success here because all the articles that Hugo Boss sells in Canada are imported goods. The value that the company places on reliability and the speed of its logistics partners is therefore extremely high.

High standards of reliability for customs clearance

The key feature when companies in the luxury fashion sector ship their fashion items is that the batch sizes are fairly small – and, in line with their higher value, they are individually entered as stock items and picked. Companies select the logistics service partners according to a series of key criteria in line with the motto of ‘quality at all levels’; comprehensive customer support and a well-developed mind for details are some of the standards required here – and a high degree of reliability for supplies.

„What’s important for our partners, too, is that they don’t need to worry about the issue of customs clearance. If things come unstuck at the wrong point when their goods are being imported, this often affects the complete supply chain in the destination countries or regions.“
Jeff Cullen | CEO of Rhenus Canada

‘Customers,’ Cullen continues, ‘must always have that sense of certainty that their partner can guarantee the best possible conditions and the fastest possible handling speeds after the goods have been imported.’ They want the handling procedures to be as transparent and uncluttered as possible, because ‘they naturally want to know where their goods are in the handling process at any particular time. They can then directly pass on the transparency which we make possible to their clients and final customers’.

Reliability and a readiness to innovate

The fact that Rhenus Canada has a reputation for being a source of innovations within the sector is a huge benefit, particularly in its transport services for the luxury segment, too. Making use of ‘couture tote’ bags for luxury brands provides a particularly vivid example of this.

Cullen continues, ‘These new kinds of patented, collapsible containers are made of highly impact-resistant vinyl and are also suitable for use in a number of different ways. It’s irrelevant whether the goods are flat or hanging – we can manage the shipment of premium items in such a way that their quality is guaranteed from the pick-up point to their arrival at the point of sale.’ And there is an additional desirable benefit: ‘Couture tote containers also save environmental resources.’

Another important factor is that criminal gangs always have their eye on deliveries of goods in the premium segment. Rhenus is therefore constantly looking for new solutions to protect its customers’ goods. Using ‘cookie sheets’ has recently proved very successful in this matter; they are attached to the underside of transport pallets and prevent thieves from gaining rapid access to them. In addition, the goods are also kept in the company’s own warehouses with even more security precautions until they are shipped onwards.

Overcoming challenges together

Nothing strengthens trust more than the experience of having overcome challenges together. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, has confronted logistics companies as well as importers and vendors with problems in maintaining their supply chains, which could not even have been imagined in the past. Despite lockdowns and huge restrictions for imports and exports, Rhenus has managed to maintain its deliveries to Hugo Boss Canada throughout the crisis, for instance. Deidre Lue adds, ‘Rhenus has been a fantastic partner during the pandemic. Its passion, its reliability and its readiness to go beyond existing boundaries has drawn us even closer together.’

Global warehousing – rapid access to warehouse space

A strategically and intelligently designed network of warehouse sites forms the basis for transport management operations that function around the globe and are efficient, even at local region level. Rapid and flexible access to warehouse capacity is a necessary precondition for a strong market presence, particularly in the fast-moving fashion business. Global supply chains can only operate on a permanent basis if these well-functioning networks of sites are available. The conclusion that can be drawn from this seems paradoxical at first sight: in order to maintain the great need for (response) speeds and flexibility for all the commercial and transport operations, global players in the fashion industry require a strategy that calls for the clear positioning of sites on the supply chain map.

Rhenus can make use of warehouse space measuring more than 15,000 square metres at its depot in Toronto to import fashion items to Canada and distribute them across the country; most of this space has been exclusively designed to handle fashion brands in the luxury segment. The Harry Rosen retail chain makes use of a large part of this; it temporarily stores articles from important suppliers like Giorgio Armani, Prada or Valentino there.

The Rhenus Group is creating the ideal conditions for smooth logistics procedures here by making available the warehouse capacity required by its partners and being able to respond to changes just as quickly. Decades of expertise in handling items with multisite, multichannel and end-to-end supply chains form the basis for this. All the Rhenus deliveries are also logged digitally to offer the greatest possible supply transparency and guarantee end-to-end traceability for customers and partners.

Regardless of whether the items are flat or hanging, whether they are shoes or the corresponding fashion accessories, Rhenus is always in a position to provide just the right solution for different types of storage and purposes of storage!

Rhenus additional services for fashion logistics: The finer details provide the real benefits

Packaging

New packaging, repackaging or combined packaging for several items: Rhenus offers its customers a wide variety of safe and environmentally-friendly types of packaging, which also protect the product.

Relabelling

...often very important for preventing possible violations of trading regulations. Rhenus can meet all the requirements – whether this involves new labels for goods or changes involving swing, safety or Kimball tags.

Carrier management

Special tasks require special solutions. The extensive freight management performed by Rhenus creates the conditions for precisely planning routes and modes of transport, whether the articles are hazardous goods, medical or pharmaceutical items.

Returns

Processing returns immediately is now a fundamental precondition for long-term customer loyalty. Reliably established standard processes support clients and final customers to equal degrees.

Gift-wrapping

Offering gift-wrapping services has long been a standard feature in the logistics sector. Rhenus offers packaging both for individual items and also for gift sets, where several articles can be combined.

Stitching and sewing

Product information, initials, complete signatures: orders can be completed in a very short time thanks to having industrial stitching machines – even if the requirements are individual or extremely complex.

Textile processing

Premium treatment for premium products: the presentation value of clothing items can be significantly increased by using ironing and steaming services.

Flocking

Rhenus offers flocking services using the flexo printing process. This means that items of clothing can be printed in line with individual specifications and with high, colour-fast quality.

Would you like to learn more?

You can find more information about fashion logistics in Canada here.

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Everything about Rhenus Warehousing Solutions in the fashion sector can be found here.

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