Thresher Group Gains Better Control Over Stock Management With JDA Portfolio

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Thresher Group, the UKs leading specialty drinks retailer, has improved stock management since transitioning its distribution methodology and implementing forecasting and replenishment software. Operating under two distinct business units of 1,1400 wine-led shops and 800 drinks retailing stores, Thresher has combined the power of JDA Portfolio Merchandise Management System-I (MMS) and Advanced Warehouse Replenishment by E3 solution to better manage the inventory that flows from its seven warehouse locations to nearly 2,000 nationwide stores.

AWR gives us more control over our business and enables us to manage the movement of goods throughout the supply chain more effectively, commented Simon Thomas, Threshers IT and Business Change Director. Since implementing JDA we have achieved a wide range of important benefits including keeping suppliers up-to-date on inventory movement and advising them on under- or over-stocking in certain warehouses.

Central Stock Control System Selected to Improve Product Distribution
According to Thomas, the company wanted to eliminate the problems often associated with a pull method of distribution, where all of Threshers UK stores including Threshers, Wine Rack, Victoria Wine, Bottoms Up, Huttons and Drinks Cabin, as well as Haddows in Scotland, ordered from a product catalogue on a weekly basis.

Stated Thomas, With our old system, we could specify the right stock for a promotion, a special event or a regular sale. However, store managers tended to pull more stock than they needed causing immediate distribution stock problems throughout the organisation.

Knowing that things had to change, Thresher moved to a push distribution model based around a central stock control system. Its more efficient to move one lever to make something happen than rely on lots of distributed and independent levers.
Thresher wanted to move to a more scientific approach based on planning ranges, and only delivering stock as and when required, continued Thomas. We wanted to have  more control of stock, but at the same we didnt want store managers worrying about empty shelves or over-full reserve stock. JDAs automated replenishment system was the obvious answer.

AWR Combines with MMS to Accurately Forecast Customer Demand
In describing the newly installed system, Thomas said that all the stock, supplier and demand information is fed from MMS, which Thresher relies on to keep track of their inventory, into AWR which in turn analyses and interprets the data to make forecasts. AWR then calculates the projected ordering requirements for each store and makes certain that enough stock is available in the warehouse to meet their inventory needs.

According to Thomas, this intelligent analysis is enabling the retailer to more accurately align product to store specific consumer preferences.

After using sales data to make more accurate forecasts, weve started to range stores differently, so that they are more in line with consumer demand at these stores, remarked Thomas. This means that many stores in Scotland, for instance, which tend to sell fifty percent more vodka, can be grouped and allocated ranges to their needs. Needless to say, product ranges have to be different for stores in a leafy suburb from those in an inner city housing estate and we need to take account for seasonal fluctuations such as sales of Champagne sometimes doubling before Christmas. AWR enables us to do this.

Maximizing Promotional Sales
Thomas also says that AWR is providing another important benefithelping the organisation manage their promotions more effectively. Promotions are a very important part of our business, said Thomas. AWR helps us more accurately consider how much extra stock is required to maximize sales of certain brands on offer.

Thomas listed a number of other important benefits resulting from the implementation of AWR including:

- Improved product availability
- Reduced stock in warehouses leading to significant space savings
- Reduced reserve stock in stores
- Reduced investment in slow and non selling lines.
- More accurate balancing of stock across warehouse network.

In closing, Thomas commented, We wanted a cost-effective solution which would be easy to implement and already configured to the needs of our business. AWR has gone in very well, with minimal fuss and no modifications were required. The project was on time, on budget, and our relationship with JDA is very good.

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