RIS News for the week of May 4, 2004



Fujitsu and NCR Duel Over Optimal Robotics

At the recently held Marketechnics show in San Francisco, Fujitsu Transaction Solutions revealed it is the lead bidder for Optimal Robotics, a manufacturer of self-checkout POS units. Many industry attendees felt this to be a surprising development since NCR previously announced it entered an agreement to acquire Optimal in late February for $30 million. NCR sources contacted at Marketechnics reported they had no knowledge of the Fujitsu bid.

While NCR may yet turn out to be successful in its efforts to acquire Optimal and establish a dominant position in the self-checkout market, Fujitsu made it clear it wasn't going to let the merger happen without a fight. Fujitsu had a close working relationship with Optimal and, in fact, intended to prominently display Optimal U-Scan units in its booth at Marketechnics until NCR announced its acquisition bid. Fujitsu sources provided no specific details of its bid other than to say it was now the lead bidder.

Tech Tactics

Virgin Megastores Decrease Fraud with BizTalk Server 2004

New tools for best-of-breed integration and business process management solutions from Microsoft allow loss prevention managers at Virgin Megastores to uncover, analyze and react in real time to fraudulent activities. The sweet sound of reducing inventory loss across its stores in North America, Europe and Japan -- a battle that costs the entire industry $30 billion a year -- now resonates at Virgin with Microsoft's new BizTalk Server 2004. The BizTalk Server 2004 integration solution enables customers to manage and automate their business processes and provide tools to design, deploy and monitor these processes in real time.

"In just the first month, the BizTalk Server 2004 loss prevention management solution detected 50 percent more potential fraud cases, and is much faster, than our previous solution," says Steven Winningham, senior vice president of operations and IT at Virgin Entertainment Group.

Fnac Adopts MicroStrategy BI Standard for Enterprise Reporting

Multiple business intelligence applications from MicroStrategy, including an extranet, enable key employees to track sales performance and monitor margins online for all departments at Fnac , the leading retailer of books, music, consumer electronics and entertainment in France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal.

Fnac's new enterprise standard for reporting applications, the MicroStrategy Business Intelligence Platform, "provides us with valuable insight to enhance our sales operations across our large enterprise," says Francois Pereira the Fnac CTO. About 200 Fnac employees -- including store managers, headquarters personnel, and financial, sales and marketing analysts -- use the new technology, encompassing roughly 15 MicroStrategy-based applications, to access an Oracle data warehouse.

Based in France, Fnac has more than 15 million customers, with 2002 revenue of $3.5 billion euros.

Harmons Goes Live with Tomax Retail.net Workforce Management Component

Harmons goes live with Retail.net's staffing management tool from Tomax to take advantage of its ability to control costs and increase customer service by balancing and optimizing workforce requirements relative to specific store demand calculated in 15-minute intervals. The pilot Tomax solution assesses each associate's skill level, experience and other factors, arriving at the optimal staffing schedule for Harmons, a Western U.S. regional grocer.

"The Retail.net Workforce Management application affects our largest controllable cost -- associates -- and has a direct impact on our commitment to above-average customer service," reports Dean Peterson, president of Harmons. "We're paying very close attention to the system's use in our stores."

Retail.net Workforce Management is a centrally hosted thin client suite for retail that includes labor scheduling and optimization, enterprise forecasting and long range budgeting, integrated time and attendance, associate self-service workflow, labor tracking/analysis, and corporate views.

Hannaford Enhances Service, Reduces Training Time with Wincor Nixdorf

Enhanced customer service levels, with 20 percent reduced tender times, higher rings per minute and a reduction in training time for new cashiers, are seen at Hannaford Bros. just one year following the installation of its BEETLE POS systems from Wincor Nixdorf.

Wincor Nixdorf's next-generation POS solution, based on sealed-chassis BEETLE /S POS systems running Red Hat Linux, has rolled out to approximately one third of Hannaford's chain of 122 stores, with another third slated for completion by the end of 2004. When the project is completed next year, approximately 2,000 BEETLE /S systems will be installed throughout Hannaford's supermarket and food and drug combination stores in the Northwestern U.S.

"We've seen a considerable reduction in tender time, due to the speed of the BEETLE POS systems and server, and the intuitiveness of the touch-screen application," says Bill Homa, senior vice president and CIO for Hannaford Bros. Co. "We've also experienced improved rings per minute, compared to our old POS systems."

Hannaford's is the first major implementation of Linux point-of-sale by a U.S. grocery.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Goes Live with Lawson

A new IT foundation from Lawson provides a single ERP solution to streamline business processes at International Coffee & Tea, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, the oldest and largest privately held chain of specialty coffee and tea stores in the U.S.

Lawson Financials, Distribution and Procurement Suites from Lawson Software sets the foundation for The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's international operations to have instant access to information that facilitates consolidation and multi-currency issues, resulting in shorter closing cycles.

"The integration of MRP and other applications utilizing Lawson tools allows for information to flow seamlessly between systems," says Peter Chan, director of IT for International Coffee & Tea.

TCI Launches inStore Solutions for Small Chains and Independents

Smaller grocers compete more effectively with industry giants with TCI Solutions' new packaged pricing and inventory management tool -- TCI inStore -- designed for North America's more than 12,000 small grocery chains and independents. TCI's new market-leading solution for stores and headquarters helps smaller grocers improve operations, protect margins and increase revenues.

TCI will market inStore through its existing reseller network. CGI Group Inc., one of the largest independent information technology and business process services firms in North America, will also offer inStore implementation services for those resellers who choose not to provide installation and support.

DemandTec Announces New Version of Consumer Demand Management Tool

Total store impact of pricing and promotion strategies for all products is quantified and optimized with DemandTec 4 Dataflow Technology, the latest version of DemandTec's Consumer Demand Management (CDM) Science Platform and applications. DemandTec 4 includes applications for optimizing base pricing and promotions, whole store pricing and market basket analysis, giving retailers the first-time ability to quantify the Total Store Impact of all of their merchandising decisions.

Siebel Systems Launches CRM Professional Edition

Small and medium-sized companies can simplify the process of purchasing and deploying CRM applications and compete more effectively with a new CRM application from Siebel Systems. Siebel CRM Professional Edition represents the next evolution of the existing Siebel MidMarket Edition application. It features multi-channel sales, service and marketing applications developed for small and medium-sized companies, providing ease of use, flexibility, functionality and overall affordability.

Siebel CRM Professional Edition is available to new users and existing Siebel MidMarket Edition customers migrating to the new product. New features and modularized packaging deliver the flexibility to choose the specific CRM functionality needed to run their business.

StoreNext Unveils Connected Store Analytics and Reporting App

Independent grocers can access reports and analyze transaction data via the Internet with the new Connected Store Analytics and Reporting application from StoreNext Retail Technologies. The new application is the latest addition to StoreNext's Connected Services portfolio.

Available immediately, the web-based Connected Store Analytics and Reporting application consists of four modules: 1. Report Viewer; 2. Reporting; 3. Sales Analysis; and 4. Electronic Journal.

RedPrairie Announces New Network Sourcing Solution

Supply network efficiency is increased with a web-based application from RedPrairie delivering more intelligent inventory allocation and shipment. The new network sourcing solution -- DLx SourceRight -- enables orders to be optimally sourced from multiple locations and suppliers to increase supply network flexibility and efficiency, reduce fulfillment costs and improve service.

The DLx SourceRight rules-based order sourcing application integrates multiple host order management and warehouse management systems across extended supply networks to determine the best location to fulfill each order or sub-order.


Cisco and Tomax Provide Web-Enabled Real-time Retail Solutions

Store computing costs and complexity are reduced, and real-time visibility and control are provided across the entire retail enterprise with new Web-based solutions from Cisco Systems and Tomax . A joint marketing agreement between the two firms will deliver retail strategies enabled by fast, secure, wide area networks using Internet Protocol (IP) technologies. The alliance solution benefits retailers by dramatically simplifying the computing and software infrastructure required to support their stores.

POSnet and Cunningham Enable In-store Clearing of Paper Coupons

A new coupon redemption system that removes Internet loopholes and other costs from the redemption process, and increases the quality and timing of marketing data captured is now available through a joint venture between POSnet Services and Cunningham Electronics Corporation (CEC). The alliance -- which combines POSnet's "Retail Media Management" infrastructure and CEC's in-store Coupon Terminals -- provides an in-store system that processes paper coupons through retailer POS systems, re-engineering the costly and complex process of manual coupon clearing.

Siebel and Microsoft Deliver Industry-specific Integration Solutions

Siebel business integration applications for the communications, media and energy industries are now available for Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004, enabling companies in these segments to automate their core business processes and deploy business integration solutions faster and more cost-effectively.

These solutions provide joint customers the ability to automate core best-practice business processes for key functional areas including Customer Life Cycle Management, Billing Management, Customer Order Management and Product Management to make real-time, informed, customer-centric business decisions, substantially reducing the time, cost, and risk associated with application integration.

Management on the Move

Blockbuster Promotes John Polizzi to SVP and CIO

John Polizzi was promoted to Blockbuster's senior vice president and CIO from his previous position as vice president, IT business processes and applications. Polizzi is responsible for managing day-to-day operations for the company's domestic IT department. He continues to report to Glenn Thistlethwaite, senior vice president and global CIO.

ISD Appoints John Filby as President and CEO

John Filby, a software industry veteran and founder of Seattle-based eCash Technologies, is named president and CEO of ISD, a leading provider of electronic payment solutions for merchants. Filby also was appointed to ISD's Board of Directors.'

Symbol Names Verlin P. Youd to VP, Retail Systems

Verlin P. Youd, a retail executive with experience at IBM and Systech Retail Systems, joins Symbol Technologies as vice president, retail systems, effective March 1. His mission is to drive Symbol's initiatives and build on its market leadership in the retail segment. He reports to Todd Abbott, senior vice president of global sales and vertical marketing.

Marni Hoyle Joins ProfitLogic as VP of Marketing

The lead responsibility for market communications and product marketing and management for ProfitLogic is assigned to Marni Hoyle, a 20-year marketing and management veteran. Hoyle's priority is to help develop and deliver world-class solutions that harness the power of forecasting and optimization, are designed to meet the usability needs of merchants and planners, and deliver significant financial benefits to ProfitLogic's retail customers.

ADT Names Randy Dunn New Head of RFID Sales and Marketing

Randy Dunn is named director of sales and marketing for ADT Security Services' RFID sector, leading the team bringing new technology solutions to the retail supply chain. Dunn, who has nearly 20 years of product management and marketing experience, is assembling a dedicated team of RFID specialists to work with retailers and consumer goods manufacturers to bring end-to-end RFID solutions to the retail supply chain.

Supplier Scene

Innovation Heats Up at Whirlpool

In a recent agreement, Whirlpool Corporation, a company noted for its bold innovations and designs, will deploy Invention Machine's Goldfire Innovator to Whirlpool engineers and R&D staff to support IP analysis and technology planning as well the improvement and extension of existing products and product features. Goldfire Innovator delivers, within a single desktop platform or dashboard, functions and content that aid the innovation process including problem-analysis tools and methodologies that guide users to solutions; semantic knowledge retrieval, providing fast, pinpoint access to relevant content; and proprietary patent information and access to more than 9,000 scientific effects and over 2,000 scientific Web sites. In using Goldfire Innovator, Whirlpool expects to benefit from greater conversion rates of ideas to products; better products; streamlined manufacturing processes; and faster time-to-market.

Murray Settles Data Synch Needs

Murray Inc., a manufacturer of lawn mowers, snow throwers and other outdoor power equipment, needed a solution to manage multiple influential customer requests. Sterling Commerce, a provider of business integration solutions, helped the company implement a solution to comply and handle upcoming initiatives to streamline supply chain operations. Sterling Commerce's Gentran Integration Suite is a strategic integration platform that supported Murray's need for UCCnet services connectivity and formatting as well as business rules processing, and provided the company with functionality to allow the data to be managed and, if necessary, routed to the appropriate personnel for review and approvals.

Logistics Upgraded at Maxell

Maxell Corporation of America upgrades its supply-chain logistics through a partnership with Nippon Express U.S.A. for warehousing and distribution operations. "Logistics and supply-chain effectiveness have become a mission-critical aspect of the customer satisfaction equation," said Hideaki Numoto, president of Maxell Corporation of America. "Implementing the advanced services of a supply-chain specialist will allow Maxell to provide best-in-class response rates and overall service to meet and exceed the expectations and demands of today's sophisticated retail and end-user customers." Maxell added that during the next several months it would transition the distribution of its products to Nippon Express's logistics systems, technology and network.

Monsanto Focuses on Forecasting

A leading provider of agricultural solutions to growers worldwide, Monsanto Company selects SmartForecasts' enterprise demand forecasting, planning and inventory optimization system to improve inventory and production management in its approximately $2 billion Seed and Genomics business segment. SmartForecasts is integrated with Monsanto's Oracle database which stores demand data and forecast results and shares information with several of the company's planning systems. The purchase is part of Monsanto' Six Sigma effort to improve core company operations. Monsanto plans to improve forecasting accuracy and optimize safety stock levels with the help of SmartForecasts. Additionally, Monsanto will use SmartForecasts to help it develop long-range production plans and forecast crop yields, as well as produce in-season sales and production forecasts.

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