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NATIONAL FASHION RETAILER

With more than 450 stores across the United States, the client has remained competitive through strategic purchasing and making value a priority. Offering the latest in designer clothing, shoes, accessories, and home furnishings at great savings, the client maintains a minimalist approach to merchandising in order to avoid passing on added costs to customers for expensive store fixtures.

In order to support its strategic objectives, the client recognized it needed to invest in a robust IT infrastructure and a new merchandising system capable of scaling to support growth. The company chose the Oracle® Retail suite, a solution that could assist its growth by defining standardized, cost-effective and sustainable business processes throughout its operations. In order to accomplish this goal, the client needed a partner to deploy Oracle Retail within an aggressive timeline and budget. With a strong history of successful Oracle Retail implementations, OLR was selected as their integration partner for this critical project.

WHAT

The client determined that the implementation of an improved Merchandise Planning system would address several of the current challenges they were facing. They were using out-dated technology, and had a need for a stable platform that could support future growth. Because much of their existing system relied on a customized spreadsheet-driven application, there was a relatively steep learning curve for new employees. When a problem did occur, there was a heavy reliance on certain key individuals to troubleshoot the spreadsheets. In addition, the company did not have good data-visibility throughout the planning process, so this was identified as a key benefit to moving to an Oracle Retail-based planning system.

HOW

OLR proposed the OLR Rapid Approach Merchandise Financial Planning Model, an out-of-the-box Oracle Retail solution pre-configured by OLR based on industry best-practices for retail planning. With up to 70% of the configuration complete prior to the start of a project, OLR's solution can be implemented in as little as four to five months, thus allowing retailers to quickly begin realizing the full value of their new solution.

A project team was established that comprised both the client business stakeholders and OLR consultants working as a single team. OLR made a significant effort during the analysis and design phase to define in detail the required enhancements the client needed above and beyond OLR's Rapid Implementation Approach, while the business team focused on key enhancements specific to their organization.

The client's list of enhancements required before Go Live included a functionality for Pack and Hold planning, New Store planning as well as Negative EOP and Receipt Alerts. In addition, an Open To Buy interface was designed to meet The client's needs. Lastly, the client has certain specialized Reporting requirements which were addressed through enhancements to the original Rapid configuration.

After the successful Go Live, The client moved from having an on-site team to engaging OLR Assist™ Support Services to provide 24/7 response by leveraging resources from OLR offices around the world.

SUCCESS

Using OLR's Rapid approach, the client was able to focus the energies of their staff on what they viewed as their major business challenges, and allowed the company to address their top 10 needs very quickly. In a relatively short time frame, they were able to deploy a solution that was more customized to their specific requirements than would have been possible during a standard implementation.

The Vice-President of Planning and Allocation and Executive Sponsor for the Planning & Optimization project remarked, "This project with OLR went as well as any I have been involved with over the past 20 years in the retail industry." 

One of the main advantages realized by the client was the integration of their open-to-buy and planning systems, which created a fluid flow of information between the Planners and Buyers. Much of the manual efforts that take place today, are being replaced with automation.  With their prior system, it would take a full day's effort to create consolidated reports and share with Senior Management. Today, this process completes in minutes.

In addition, Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning is a very intuitive system. 90% of the client's planning staff surveyed indicated that they felt the system was a significant improvement over their existing system. They identified key improvements, such as Comp planning, visibility to inventory units and Average Unit Retail, and the ability to see multiple buyers and classes in a single view in a much more user-friendly system.

One Planner remarked, "The new MFP system is so much better! Many things are improved, but the three things I like best are: Automated On-Order Fill, ability to drive unit plans through Average Unit Retail, and the fact that the markdowns will drive AUR changes in sales."

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