Fiba Retail Group, based in Turkey, had three months to deploy a business management solution to handle its new Gap franchise. Microsoft Gold Certified Partner AXIS Information Technologies led the project, deploying Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 alongside its own AXIS Retail Suite software. The solution, which the partner deployed cost effectively and on time, manages the group’s entire sales, distribution, and supply chain process.
Founded in 1987, the Fiba Group controls an investment portfolio of high-value brand names in many lines of business. Since 1999, its retail arm Fiba Retail Group has run a successful franchise of Marks & Spencer stores in Turkey. More recently, the company acquired the rights to open and manage Gap stores.
This business venture with Gap prompted Fiba Retail Group to seek a new enterprise resource planning solution. The group’s existing system used for previous franchise arrangements was no longer scalable or flexible enough to support the relationship, so when the organization joined forces with Gap in April 2007, it had just three months to deploy a business management solution.
Pinar Kaçar, IT Director, Fiba Retail Group, says: “We needed a solution to manage all the logistics of retail planning—from orders from Gap headquarters in the United States (U.S.) through to their delivery to stores in Turkey. All employees, including merchandisers, buyers, and product managers, require access to crucial sales and supply chain information.”
The group engaged AXIS Information Technologies, an independent software vendor, to lead the project. Üstün Uçtum, Sales and Marketing Director at AXIS Information Technologies, says: “We wanted to ensure Fiba Retail Group had a complete, integrated solution that could calculate costs, including product costs and import fees, as well as handle warehousing and distribution data.”
The AXIS Information Technologies team needed to help the group deploy a solution that could meet a number of unique retail industry requirements. Kaçar explains: “One of the obstacles in retail is that elements of stock management are highly variable. Some solutions force the user to follow a regimented step-by-step process, but our users need to be able to skip steps that aren’t relevant without facing technical restrictions.”
AXIS Information Technologies specializes in building solutions on Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 and introduced Fiba Retail Group to the business management software. The group chose this technology over alternative solutions such as Oracle and SAP because of its rapid deployment features and flexibility. “Competitor products could have taken up to a year to implement, but we had to complete the project in just three months,” says Kaçar. “Microsoft Dynamics AX is easy to customize and offers familiar interfaces. Also, the total cost of ownership is lower than other solutions on the market.”
The AXIS Information Technologies team integrated Microsoft Dynamics AX with its own AXIS Retail Suite application. Combined, the technologies provide the group with a complete management system that incorporates all elements of the supply chain—from sales to warehouse distribution.
The supply chain management module manages stock that arrives at the distribution centre, recording details such as when items were scanned and how many are available. The solution also automates replenishment of stock to stores, ordering items from Gap based on variables such as stock levels and sales history. This feature had to be tailored according to highly specific requirements. Uçtum says: “Gap in the U.S. has its own buying and replenishment language and we needed to modify the solution to recognize this.”
Kaçar explains the importance of the finance modules. “At Gap, the product life cycle is limited and stock needs to be turned around quickly. The solution helps us maximize profit by automatically pricing goods and preparing invoices. It also integrates with the IBM systems we use to manage in-store data, so every 10 minutes, sales figures are updated for reporting in near real time,” she says.
AXIS Information Technologies has played a vital role in developing and customizing the solution, and continues to provide support. “AXIS Information Technologies consultants have a huge amount of expertise in retail and know exactly how to accommodate our needs,” says Kaçar. “The team deployed the Microsoft Dynamics AX solution in just weeks, with little downtime.” As a result, Fiba Retail Group incorporated its GAP franchise on time, and is now successfully operating 22 stores in Turkey alone.
- Information supports decision making. Reports and features such as automated replenishment help the business monitor and respond quickly to trends in buying behavior and customer demands. This minimizes out-of-stock situations.
- Flexible solution keeps business agile. “Our in-house IT team is skilled in Microsoft technologies so it’s easy for members to adjust the solution to accommodate new suppliers or integrate new stores whenever necessary,” says Kaçar.
- All departments access accurate data. Logistics, purchasing, finance, and sales divisions, can access the same set of data in near real time. Managers use this to measure product, department, and store performance.
- Technology adapts to suit users. “Many solutions force employees to work differently to the way they are accustomed. Microsoft Dynamics AX is not only easy to use, but it also follows our business model and works the way we want it to,” says Kaçar.
- Business easily meets compliance needs. By law, retail organizations in Turkey need to comply with strict guidelines on clothing labels. “The information on the label, such as care instructions and where the item was made, needs to be in Turkish,” says Kaçar. “AXIS Information Technologies has customized the solution to ensure the relevant information is available and can be easily modified for other countries.”
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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published March 2010