Sears' Efficient Logistics Practices*



Mini Case Code : CLIM029
Publication date : 2005
Subject : International Marketing
Industry : Retail chain
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Sears Roebuck and Co., Sears, retail chain stores, one-price strategy, logistics system, centralized Sears Logistics Group, logistics-related activities, full line store logistics, off-mall logistics, direct delivery, specialized channel, distribution centers, direct distribution channels, cross-docking, speedy delivery, storage costs, electronic ordering system, Strategic Performance Reporting System, stock keeping units, Enhanced Home Delivery System, Disaster Operations Center, collaborative planning, forecasting, replenishment plan


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The caselet explains the various logistics practices of Sears, Roebuck, & Co. (Sears) a US-based retail chain company. Sears, a 119-year-old company, was experiencing declining sales during the late 1980s, and as a result, the company incurred huge losses. The caselet explores how efficient logistic management practices gave a facelift to the company and fetched profits. It also discusses the involvement of technology in Sears' logistics management practices.


Logistics practices of Sears
Importance of efficient supply chain practices in cutting down costs
Technological intervention - a must for sound logistics management
Importance of supplier relations in logistics management


Sears Roebuck and Co. was founded by Richard Warren Sears in 1886. The company was initially known as R W Sears Watch Company and was in the watch retailing business.

Later in 1887, when Alvah Curtis Roebuck joined the business as a partner, the company became Sears, Roebuck and Company (Sears). By 1901, Sears built a $ 5 million mail-order plant and office building. The company initially sold watches and jewelry through catalogues.

Later, it offered a variety of items such as furniture, appliances, men's clothing, buggies, bicycles, women's apparel, groceries, etc. In 1924, General Robert Wood, the then President and Board Chairman of Sears, initiated the retail store business...

Questions for Discussion:

1. Discuss the various technologies that Sears used in logistics management. What benefits did the company derive by using IT and Internet-related technologies for managing its logistics system?

2. Discuss the various logistic practices adopted by Sears to manage its logistics system most effectively.