Family Dollar Increases Data Visibility with TAS Solution

Family Dollar, a discount retailer, has deployed TAS Unity, an enterprise market knowledge system specifically designed for retail real estate from Trade Area Systems (TAS). Since the TAS system went fully operational in September 2012, the retailer has improved visibility for the real estate management team, enhanced collaboration between internal teams, increased productivity, site evaluations times have been reduced by 67% and improved communications throughout the company.
Family Dollar previously used an array of geographic information system tools that had limits in terms of data accuracy and latency. The mapping system was desktop based, which led to significant data variation and sub-optimal decisions. The retailer also lacked a single source of data and didn't have visibility from one user to another. In addition, management wanted easier access to reporting.
"Our approach to market analysis going forward is to get the information out to the field decision makers," said Brian Strickland, divisional vice president of portfolio management at Family Dollar. "There were many holes in our existing system. For example, a real estate manager working on a store relocation did not have visibility to a real estate manager who may be siting a new store in the same area."
The TAS Unity system runs on multiple platforms – desktop, online and mobile – and functionality includes mapping and demographics, data viewing, data editing, and the ability to capture notes and photos and attach them to specific stores right on the map retrieval system. The retailer has deployed the system using TAS Mobile, a tablet based system running on the iPad designed to access and update data in the field, as well as TAS Online, a browser-based mapping and demographics information system that makes it easy to get and update market data.
"TAS Unity is a one-stop shop for everything I need to make the best real estate decisions," said Strickland. "Both our users and the team at TAS are very passionate about making the solution even more valuable. We intuitively know this was the right decision because of the efficiencies created by the solution points to a significant ROI."
Family Dollar and TAS are now working to extend usage of the tool beyond its current team. The retailer will be working with TAS to leverage the tool in other areas of the company, including marketing, pricing and store operations.
"We are currently in the process of creating a way to increase the knowledge of our preferred developers and brokers utilizing TAS," continued Strickland. "This was one of those developments we didn’t see coming – the users are finding tremendous value from the system and they want our real estate partners to have access to the same information."
TAS Unity is designed exclusively for retail real estate. The system not only provides data, information and knowledge to end users, it also allows them to edit data and input photos and comments about stores, competitors and opportunities directly from the iPad. Over time, the database becomes an institutional knowledge-base for markets, stores, trade areas, future opportunities, past opportunities and competition. The result is that the retailer works faster and smarter, and better decisions are made because more accurate and consistent information is easily available.
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