Mothercare Ireland was opened in 1992 by David Ward as an owner-managed franchise for Mothercare, the babes-to-adult retailer, with just one store in Dublin. Today it has fourteen – six in Dublin and one each in Waterford, Cork, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Newbridge, Dundalk and Drogheda.
Getting stock, most of which comes from Mothercare UK, to the stores is never easy. Retail outlets have small stockrooms, which means bigger stores need daily deliveries; even the smallest one requires new stock three times per week. “We used to outsource our warehousing and transport,” explains logistics director Jonathan Ward, David’s son, “but increasing rents and rates convinced us to look for our own warehouse. We took space next to Independent Express Cargo’s Blanchardstown warehouse in May 2005, so it made sense to go to them for our transport too. “IEC then used partners throughout Ireland, but when they became involved with TPN, distribution was transferred to that network. It’s a very efficient operation handling a difficult and complex service. Each store has different delivery requirements: some want goods at 7.00am, some at 7.30 or 8.00, and others in the afternoon. “We reviewed our logistics business at the start of the year,” adds Ward, “looking at other logistics companies to compare rates and services. None could offer the same flexibility or guarantee to meet the timed deliveries at all our stores.”
Mothercare Ireland wants to expand further. The warehouse has grown from 38,000 sq ft to 50,000, with 30 employees sending out 150-200 pallets per week. “We have an ambitious schedule of new store openings in place too: Carrickmines opens in June, Mahon Point in Cork in the summer, and we are considering putting outlets in Sligo, Letterkenny, Portlaoise, Wexford and Athlone – but we won’t open anywhere unless we’re sure TPN can handle the deliveries.”