Industry News for the week of August 15, 2006


Beall's Unifies Its Business Platform
Beall's implements SAP for Retail solutions to support its growth strategy that includes opening additional stores in existing and new geographies. Currently the retailer operates more than 600 stores. SAP for Retail is designed to help Beall's standardize its business operations on one unified platform.

"We chose to work with SAP because we felt that SAP has the best solution for us, has a clear road map and has a strong track record of delivering on its vision," says Joe Iannello, vice president and CIO, Beall's. "We are particularly impressed with SAP's retail industry end-to-end solution and road map."

Beall's is utilizing the integrated applications from SAP for point-of-sale in its department store and outlet stores. The retailer also is using the system for finance, human capital management, merchandise management, supply chain management and master data management.


Carters Improves Supply Chain Visibility
Carters, 349-store children's apparel retailer, improves supply chain visibility by implementing Jesta's Vision Sourcing Solution. The implementation integrates IT functionality and updates Carters' current systems to support its global sourcing and planning operations. Carters anticipates improved visibility and tracking, reduced costs and increased overall effectiveness in their supply chain as a result of the implementation.

Office Max Implements Test & Learn
Office Max chooses Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) to implement a Test & Learn capability, using a combination of the APT 5 software applications and specialized APT professional services. APT's Test & Learn approach evaluates the impact of retail ideas and investments designed to improve performance and helps executives make more accurate decisions about how to roll out retail ideas.

Kohl's Selects Platform for E-Commerce Growth
Kohl's selects CommerceHub's Universal Connection Hub and Drop-Ship Master solutions as its supply chain management platform to support its e-commerce operation. CommerceHub's Universal Connection Hub enables Kohl's to bring new products to market by integrating new suppliers. With Drop-Ship Master, Kohl's will empower their suppliers to fulfill orders directly to the end customer, eliminating the need to stock and warehouse additional inventory.


Wincor Nixdorf Unveils eServices Platform
Wincor Nixdorf announces the availability of its eServices platform, based on a customer relationship management (CRM) system that coordinates all activities for a service call. The eServices platform connects Wincor Nixdorf service management with service customers via an electronic network. With the eServices platform, service activities are more targeted and efficient, with faster turnaround time.

Loyalty Lab Introduces Loyalty 2.0
Loyalty Lab releases Loyalty 2.0, a new product to help grocery stores and specialty retailers replace their outdated first-generation loyalty programs. Loyalty 2.0 is designed to help marketers leveraging their reams of unused transactional data to launch new initiatives such as targeted e-mail, sweepstakes, sub-clubs and personalized Web-based communications.


R.J. Reynolds Optimizes Trade Promotion
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, the brand owner of Camel, Kool, Winston, Salem and Doral cigarettes, selects CPWerx from CAS to provide an integrated solution for its customer-facing (sales and marketing) activities. R.J. Reynolds represents the fourth major customer win for CAS in the past few months. This week, CAS also announced a partnership with Stonyfield Farm, which will also use CPWerx as its solution for trade promotion management.

Oneida Improves Demand, Inventory and Supply Planning
Oneida, the sourcing and distribution companies for stainless steel and silver-plated flatware, selects Logility Voyager Solutions to improve forecast accuracy, lower inventory levels and increase customer fill rates. Implementation of Logility and a new global ERP platform is a major component of Oneida's 18-month operational restructuring plan, which includes a redirection of focus from manufactured to sourced product, implementation of world-class supply chain management practices and reinvestment in its brand.


Vue and Symbol Technologies Team up to Offer Item-Level RFID
Vue Technology and Symbol Technologies unveil two bundled item-level RFID offerings for the retail industry. The companies offer a cost-effective handheld solution for item-level RFID and an integrated handheld/smart shelf solution that enables item-level RFID to deliver continuous and widespread inventory visibility.

VeriFone Acquires Trintech's Payment Systems Business
VeriFone Holdings acquires the payment systems business of Trintech Group in an all-cash transaction. Trintech's unattended and outdoor payment systems will enhance VeriFone's solutions in the growing markets for self-service payment, vending and pay-at-the-pump applications.

Fujitsu Appoints Regional VP
Fujitsu Transaction Solutions appoints Danny Westheimer as regional vice president of sales, focused on new account development. Westheimer will be based in Atlanta, overseeing several new business initiatives. Prior to joining Fujitsu, Westheimer was area director, retail sales for the northeast region at NCR.

RadioShack Names Former Kmart and Sears Exec as CFO
RadioShack names James Gooch chief financial officer. He also will hold the title of executive vice president. Gooch most recently served as executive vice president and CFO of Entertainment Publications. He also spent 10 years with Kmart and then joined Sears, where he served as controller, treasurer and vice president of corporate financial planning.


Technology Alone Is Not Enough for LP Success
by Tom O'Rourke, Vice President of Research and Information, Punch Integrated Communications

Like every area of retail, Loss Prevention is being transformed by a proliferation of new technologies. There are a host of exception-reporting software programs, digital video cameras that can be integrated to the POS, RFID solutions, digital audit tools and interfaces to ERP systems available for loss prevention.

While technology has given LP professionals increasingly sophisticated tools for fighting shrink, however, it's only a means to an end. It's the information produced by these technologies -- and the vastly improved speed and quality of data now available to LP managers -- that matters most.

To make real progress in lowering shrink and improving safety, retailers must capture relevant information, quickly get it in the hands of the people who can use it to make a difference (whether it's a vice president of loss prevention or a store manager), then put into place the necessary corrective actions.

Ultimately, of course, that involves changing the behavior of store associates. After all, all three types of shrink -- internal, external and error -- are directly affected by hourly associates. They are on the front lines to intervene with a shoplifter, report associate theft, decide for themselves not to steal or commit fraud and comply with policies and procedures. If you want to make a change, you must understand your associates' attitudes and behaviors, get a clear picture of what's going on in the stores, then use that information to implement change.

In order to do this, one of the nation's best-known retailers uses monthly audits that interface with the company's ERP system. These store-level audits measure the degree of each store's compliance with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and issues of regulatory compliance that closely influence shrink and safety. Key indicators must be relevant to the specific organization or environment, objectively measurable or quantifiable, applicable to everyone, actionable, and available in a regular, timely fashion. Indicators can include such things as program compliance, inventory shrink, incident rates and associate comprehension.

The audits are analyzed by a proprietary software system that produces metrics that analyze performance. The system also produces reports are sent out promptly each month, and managers at every level immediately understand which stores are underperforming, who needs help (and what kind) and how to put in place the necessary training and communications programs that are needed to improve associate behavior.

The retail industry is uniquely fast paced, and for retailers, the speed of delivering information, and taking corrective action, is essential for improvement. The sooner problems are diagnosed and addressed, the sooner the associates can begin improving behaviors.

In the past, retailers sometimes wouldn't discover problems until annual inventory, or when situations escalated enough to become really noticeable. Real, substantial improvements only take place with continual monitoring, fast and accurate delivery of information and rapid response.

Another well-known retailer uses an online safety certification program to drive continual improvement in each store. Audit information is gathered monthly from different parts of each store's operations, then analyzed to produce actionable reports. What makes this reporting unique is that, in the case of deficiencies, each store automatically receives a detailed checklist of corrective actions that need to be taken in order to improve their results moving forward.

Are you looking to get the most improvement out of the LP technologies in place in your stores? Then keep in mind these principles:

  • When justifying new LP technology purchases, consider carefully what you'll do with the information produced. It's great to have technology in place, but not if it's only used to produce reports that go unread and aren't actionable.
  • Remember that information is only good when it gets in the hands of the people who can do something with it. Deliver the information quickly, and to the people who need it the most in order to make improvements.
  • Continually measure, analyze and pinpoint how to improve performance. The most successful retailers have a very disciplined and systematic approach for doing this, and it is the key to continuous improvement in driving down shrink.