Retailer boosts sales 14%, cuts inventory management costs 35% with RFID solution
Like virtually all retailers and all businesses, American Apparel wanted to do more with less at its retail locations—specifically, it wanted to boost store sales while reducing the cost of generating those sales. It met that goal with a solution provided by Xterprise, a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, and based on Microsoft BizTalk® Server RFID. Radio frequency ID (RFID) tags and readers help employees to get needed merchandise on the retail floor faster than before. As a result, store sales are up 14 percent, margins are up to 65.9 percent, and the labor time and costs spent on handling inventory are down by 35 percent, resulting in better-organized backroom management.
Food Service Giant Enhances Branch Office Security, Cuts Update Work by 80 Percent
Compass Group North America provides catering and dining services to corporate clients, educational and healthcare facilities, and sports venues from Canada to Mexico. Its employees use thousands of computing devices in dozens of field and corporate offices. To meet credit-card industry regulations, it was critical to secure these computers, yet sending monthly security updates overloaded the wide-area network (WAN), impacting user productivity and sometimes causing updates to fail. Compass Group deployed Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 to improve update efficiency and success. Branch-office employees are no longer inconvenienced or disturbed during update periods, the IT staff has reduced its security update work by 80 percent, and the company has cut network bandwidth to remote sites by 50 percent.
Award Winning Software Improves Retailer’s Operations and Increases Income
Retail operations at The Co-operative Group have grown so fast in the last couple of years that IT administrators needed to re-evaluate the electronic point of sale (EPOS) system. In order to track sales and manage information to and from the stores, The Co-operative Group’s software development team needed to create a database management system that was built on a more stable environment and could accommodate future expansion. Using Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 on the Microsoft .NET Framework, developers built an application that addressed the unique needs of retail so well that in addition to using it in the company’s retail outlets, the company was able to sell it to other retailers. Stores save six hours a week cashing up tills and sales while the Group is saving £120,000 a year by deploying green IT.
Dansk Supermarked Gruppen
Leading Hypermarket Chain Launches B2C Portal with the Help of Commerce Server 2007
Dansk Supermarked Gruppen (DSG) is the largest retail group in Denmark. It owns and operates several high-profile supermarket and “hypermarket” chains under the Fotex, Bilka and NETTO brands, and employs 44,000 people across Europe. In 2009 Bilka decided to re-architect its e-commerce platform, and looked for technology that would best suit its needs. The company worked with Cactus Commerce, a specialist in dynamic, cross-channel B2C and B2B e-commerce solutions, to build the new site on the Microsoft® Commerce Server 2007 platform.
Direct-to-Consumer and Online Wine Retailer Increases Sales and Customer Satisfaction
Direct Wines, a major wine merchant based in the United Kingdom, wanted to promote business growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. In particular, the company sought to better manage its international catalog-based, order-to-cash business. Direct Wines engaged Infosys Technologies to implement an enterprise resource planning solution based on a single instance of Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 and serving multiple languages, currencies, and locations. With the solution, Direct Wines is able to conduct its global business with agility, manage its vast customer network with efficiency, and scale up to meet future needs. The company has reduced customer call times by up to 30 seconds per call, increased sales per hour from outbound calls by 10 percent, and reduced the time from order entry to fulfillment processing by 47 percent.
Dollar Thrifty Auto Group
Car Rental Company Migrates Rate Engine to New Database, Saves $135,000 Annually
Dollar Thrifty Auto Group (DTAG) is one of the largest car rental companies in the United States. It generates 66 percent of its business through online sales. A critical business application, the Rate Engine, provides DTAG rate information to customers. However, the performance of the application’s Oracle Database 10g slowed response times to customers’ queries, putting the company at risk for losing sales. DTAG needed to find a cost-effective solution to improve the performance and reliability of the Rate Engine and keep its products “on the shelf.” Instead of spending U.S.$700,000 to upgrade the Oracle platform, it migrated the Rate Engine to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise data management software. DTAG achieved a 100 percent return on investment in one year, and gained a more powerful, reliable database solution that saves the company $135,000 in annual maintenance costs.
Family Dollar Enables Strategic Business Initiatives with New Store Systems
One of the nation’s largest discount retailers, Family Dollar Stores has strategic business initiatives in place to support its growth objectives. To get those strategies implemented at the store level, Family Dollar needed to revamp its 16,000 checkout lanes and legacy POS systems. Toshiba TEC America and Microsoft® Corp. partnered with Family Dollar to develop an innovative POS solution designed to improve services, processes, and business value. At the heart of the new cash register is Windows® Embedded for Point of Service, which provides a stable, secure, multitasking operating system and leverages Family Dollar’s investments in Microsoft product and technologies such Systems Management Server 2003™. Today, the POS terminal provides access to both centralized and decentralized store applications, enabling higher employee productivity, improved customer service, and new revenue streams.
Music Company Improves Business Processes, Ensures Scalability and Support for Future
One of India’s oldest music houses, a vanguard of western music in India, Furtados, had a makeover... to a trendy music brand encompassing, education, digital and traditional instruments and promoting new artists and music across the country. With 18 stores and growing, the company also needed a technology makeover too. The legacy systems weren’t cutting it – which made sales information difficult to consolidate and track. With the business re-launched to hit double digit growth year-on-year, it was time to upgrade to an integrated ERP with consolidated point of sales transactions. It collaborated with V-Serve Consultants, a Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner, to implement Microsoft® Dynamics™ NAV 4.0 with LS Retail. The upside is that reporting has become easier and faster; business analysis is now a reality while the company has seen a decrease in administrative and maintenance costs.
Worldwide Retailer Simplifies IT Management, Improves Support with Operating System
Clothing retailer Giordano Group has more than 1,900 stores in 30 countries around the world. The IT staff at the company’s Guangzhou, China, headquarters needs to manage the technology infrastructure at the main office and at the retail stores. With such a widely distributed computer fleet, it was very difficult to support and manage all the company’s 7,000 PCs, particularly because they ran several different operating systems. In order to simplify IT management and improve business continuity, the company began testing the Windows 7 operating system. With Windows 7, Giordano has simplified IT management, enhanced security, and seen an increase in employee productivity.
Jelly Belly Candy Company
Iconic Candy Maker Reduces Customer Churn by 34 Percent with CRM Solution
Jelly Belly Candy Company has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, as the company expands into new geographies and product areas. The company installed an ERP system in 2007 and began work on a project for an accompanying customer relationship management system. However, after 18 months of work, Jelly Belly decided to abandon the project and look for a more stable system that would meet its core requirements more effectively. Working with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Webfortis, Jelly Belly implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM in two-and-a-half months, meeting core requirements, such as integration with the ERP system and creating a single view of customer information across the company.
Retailer Takes Advantage of ERP System, Gets E-Commerce Site Up and Running Fast
Growing by as many as eight retail stores a year, JYSK Canada wanted to further increase its presence and sales by making its merchandise available over the Internet. To do so, the company needed to ensure that it could take advantage of its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Microsoft Dynamics® NAV, without adding unnecessary cost and complexity to its streamlined IT environment. In 2007, the company deployed Nav-to-Net, a Certified for Microsoft Dynamics product that enables online e-commerce and makes inventory levels and other product information in Microsoft Dynamics NAV easily available on the Internet. With Nav-to-Net, the company gained a Web site that can be easily updated in real time through its ERP system and managed by an IT staff of only four and one full-time webmaster.
Retailer Improves Data Management to Reduce Costs and Safeguard Customer Goodwill
London Drugs operates a chain of retail locations in Canada. One of the company’s most important lines of business is the PhotoLab, an online service for storing, sharing, and ordering prints of digital photographs. To reduce costs and improve PhotoLab users’ experience, London Drugs deployed a data management solution based on the Microsoft Application Platform. With the solution, the company has drastically reduced backup time and associated costs, simplified management, and improved the functioning of an important, customer-facing system.
Grocery Chain Achieves Goal: The Right People, at the Right Place, at the Right Time
For more than 50 years the Toronto-based Longo Brothers Fruit Markets (Longo’s), a premium grocery chain, has been celebrated for its high quality food and great service. As the company grew to 19 stores and 3,500 employees, it deployed a collection of workforce management solutions, including an Oracle-based HR application—but Longo’s needed a solution that was easier to use, easier to manage, and resulted in a lower total cost of ownership. Longo’s also needed to ensure that it could continue to use its Ceridian payroll system. To meet these goals, the company chose Dayforce, which runs on the Microsoft Application Platform including Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Moving to Dayforce has provided Longo’s with an improved workforce management solution, an enhanced user experience, and a better view into its business.
NEC Set to Expand Market for Ads, Content on Public Screens; Rapid Payback Expected
NEC did not just want to enter the market for digital place-based advertising—the advertising that appears on screens in malls, airports, and other venues. It wanted to expand that market by changing how advertisers and network operators do business. To do that, NEC is about to launch a pair of Web-based applications that largely automate the manual processes that make up the traditional ad campaign. These include identifying potential ad networks, negotiating placement, managing the final product, and reporting on ad play. To create a fully functional, robust solution quickly and cost effectively, NEC turned to Microsoft technologies and Project Leadership Associates, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
New Belgium Brewing Company
Craft Brewer Supports Growth with Systems Designed to Work Together
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and other inspiring craft beers, has been experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth. To help keep a close eye on inventory sales and costs, New Belgium has extended the reach of its Microsoft Dynamics® GP business management solution and has incorporated Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007 to increase access to information and enhance communication and collaboration across the company. Manufacturing, production, sales forecasting, and budgeting have all benefited from the expanded solution, and in recent years the company has been able to cut its shipment forecast error in half, from 8 percent to 4 percent, dramatically reducing production overruns and product outages.
Retailer Gains Valuable Store Feedback, More Time for Selling, with Portal
Walk into any of the 852 Pacific Sunwear stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, and you can almost feel a bit of the California sunshine. The retailer of casual apparel for teens and young adults focuses on youth culture as a key differentiator, but its employee portal was based on green-screen technology that was older than many of the store’s employees. To update its portal, which ran on the point-of-sale system, Pacific Sunwear chose Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and related technologies. As a result, the company has vastly enhanced the communication with its stores, receiving 3,400 pieces of employee and customer feedback a year. With less time spent on administration, employees have more time to dedicate to sales.
Peet's Coffee & Tea
Premium Specialty Coffee Roaster and Distributor Manages Growth with Outstanding Quality
An unwavering commitment to artisan quality and the freshest roast-to-order products resulted in success for Peet’s Coffee & Tea. Growing order volumes in all distribution channels and steady growth meant the company could no longer use the same legacy, custom-written, and unconnected software to maintain the momentum. By collaborating with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Junction Solutions, Peet’s moved to a complete retail solution based on Microsoft Dynamics AX. Today, Peet’s efficiently practices its high-quality and customer service standards while growth continues. With a unified business management solution that enables efficiencies in all company activities, managers can conduct smart decision making and take control of the company’s future. Employees across the organization are fully empowered to deliver the excellent quality customers expect.
Online Retailer Keeps Web Sites Fresh, Costs Lower with Timesaving Software Tool
Online retail is brutally tough, and companies can quickly find themselves with more expenses than profits. Successful retailers have to keep their operating costs low and their Web sites fresh to be successful online. Surf-culture clothing retailer Quiksilver Americas used Microsoft® software to create a clever product management tool called Bob that shortcuts the onerous administrative work involved in posting, refreshing, and managing thousands of online products. Instead of juggling dozens of spreadsheets and manually posting data to File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites, Quiksilver merchandisers can create compelling marketing copy and manage Web commerce elements in a single user-friendly tool. One developer created Bob in a few weeks and linked it to an existing content management investment. Thanks to Bob, Quiksilver has been able to eliminate the search for spreadsheets and create a single repository of online product data that is easy to manage. Bob saves merchandisers hundreds of hours annually, giving them more time to focus on being creative, attracting customers, and boosting sales. Bob also helps Quiksilver keep headcount low, which is critical to turning a profit in today’s tough retail environment. “Cutty & Scratchy? That is how you would describe the reef at Deserts or the rocks at Lowers. These trunks can be worn at both.”
Department Store Chain Speeds Reporting, Saves $600,000 a Year in Technology Costs
Florida-based Stein Mart, a large department store chain, wanted faster data reporting and new analysis capabilities. It switched from an IBM-based business intelligence system to a solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 built on HP technology platform. As a result, Stein Mart runs weekly sales reports in 3 hours instead of 14 and has reduced its monthly technology costs by U.S.$50,000. The company also has new tools for business analysis and forecasting.
Software Start-Up Scales for Demand Without Capital Expenses by Using Cloud Services
Transactiv facilitates business-to-business and business-to-consumer commerce through social networking websites. When the start-up company set out to build its application, it knew that it wanted a cloud-based infrastructure that offered high levels of scalability to manage unpredictable demand, but without cost-prohibitive capital expenses and IT management costs associated with on-premises servers. After ruling out competitors’ offerings based on scalability limitations and maintenance requirements, Transactiv developed its solution on the Windows Azure platform. As a result of using Windows Azure, Transactiv gained the scalability it wanted while avoiding capital expenses and saving a projected 54.6 percent of costs over a three-year period compared to an on-premises solution.