Retek rollout at a leading specialty retailer of home furnishings provides timely visibility and decision support around product performance and inventory levels
The client is a specialty multi-brand, multi-channel retailer in the United States.
The client needed a reliable merchandising system and streamlined supply chain infrastructure to support its growth plans. Its existing merchandising systems had limited capabilities and did not provide complete inventory control and real-time inventory visibility. As a result, the client was insufficiently equipped to respond to competitive challenges in an informed and timely manner. Seeking an integrated view of operations, the client chose Oracle Retail as the core merchandising management system for both its retail and direct to customer (DTC) channels. The Oracle Retail product suite required significant customization to meet the retailer's requirements and minimize impact on business processes. The retailer engaged Infosys to implement the product suite.
Replacing disparate legacy systems with an integrated merchandising management architecture is a challenge in itself. In this case, the retailer's challenge was compounded by three factors:
- Diversity of products sold under various brands, ranging from utensils and food to furniture and clothing
- Large percentage of sales that came from Internet and catalog DTC channels
- Multi-year nature of the deployment
This meant that the ready-made features and business processes of Oracle Retail could not be implemented directly across brands and channels. Infosys needed to extensively customize the product suite to fulfill the retailer's diverse requirements.
The new system was also required to:
- Increase inventory turns and reduce inventory levels
- Provide cross-channel information for operational actions
- Enable better planning and forecasting capability
- Offer effective retail price and promotion management
Infosys leveraged its expertise in merchandising and retail applications and offered the retailer end-to-end services - project planning, requirements analysis, design, development, quality assurance (QA), and implementation. Infosys customized Oracle Retail to meet the requirements of each channel / brand. The application was also integrated with the supply chain and finance/accounting systems to give the retailer complete visibility into its inventory.
Infosys used its InTrak methodology to implement the system. InTrak is a proven method to streamline the end-to-end implementation of enterprise-wide information systems. It helped maximize the parallel implementation of the solution across different brands to minimize the time required for rollout. A QA team working independent of the development team validated the business functionality being delivered. Faster time to market was ensured since validation and development proceeded simultaneously. InTrak also helped reduce the number of defects detected during the system integration testing phase. It also ensured:
- Fewer changes in later stages of the project
- Faster completion of the testing cycle
- Efficient use of resources
The in-depth knowledge of Infosys in retail and merchandising applications helped it expand the basic capabilities of Oracle Retail to suit the retailer's needs. It applied a wide range of enhancements on the base product, resulting in significant improvements in the way business was conducted. A few benefits accruing to the client are given below:
Enhanced infrastructure for future growth: The new system helped the retailer keep track of its inventory levels and expedite replenishments, allowing it to respond quickly and efficiently to customers. The system enhanced planning and forecasting capabilities, resulting in better business insights and solutions.
Helped increase profits: Since the system helped increase inventory turns, it reduced holding cost and increased profits. Useful cross-channel information helped improve customer experience across multiple sales channels. Coupled with the effective price and promotion management, this helped the retailer increase profits.
Increased productivity with automated creation of allocations: In the base allocation package, the distribution analyst needed to enter details for each allocation created. The process took a long time, leading to lower productivity. Infosys developed an innovative solution to generate these allocations automatically, thereby reducing the effort by as much as 90%.
Weighted average cost (WAC): The base Oracle Retail suite calculated the WAC at a particular location while the retailer's inventory accounting standard maintained this at a channel level. Infosys modified the application to calculate the channel level WAC and apply it to all locations belonging to the channel.
Actual landed cost (ALC): Infosys enhanced the capability of the base package to have the ability to apply the actual landed cost when the actual invoices were received.
Improved multi-channel support: Infosys implemented a solution that improved the multi-channel capability for the base package. This impacted functionalities like item creation / maintenance and PO creation / maintenance.