CATALYST INTERNATIONAL HELPS COOKING.COM REDUCE INVENTORY COSTS BY 35%

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When Cooking.com, a leading online and catalogue retailer of cookware, began preparing for the 2004 holiday season, it soon realised that manual inventory management would not be up to the task of handling a product line that had grown 50 percent (some 2,000 new SKUs) during the past year. Since the fourth-quarter is make-or-break time for retailers, Cooking.com turned to a company it knew would provide a fast, reliable, cost-effective solution: Catalyst International, Inc., a global supplier of supply chain execution (SCE) solutions.

In less than three weeks, Catalyst implemented its CatalystConnect Demand Management application, whose performance during Cooking.coms busiest time of year far exceeded the companys high expectations.

The results were fantastic -- much more than we had ever hoped for, said Bryan Handlen, Cooking.coms senior vice president of operations. Despite the fact that we had 2,000 more SKUs, we operated with the same inventory levels as the holiday period last year, which means that we essentially reduced our inventory costs by 35 percent.

He continues, Catalysts automated replenishment application paid for itself in the fourth quarter alone. Plus, it increased our in-stock rates, which in turn reduced our lost sales by 5 10 percent, and significantly improved our planning and forecasting capabilities. From the product itself to its seamless implementation, Catalyst delivered a superlative solution.
CatalystConnect Demand Management was integrated with the CatalystCommand Warehouse Management System (WMS), which Cooking.com had installed in 1999. Its impact was far-reaching, not only through inventory cost savings, but also by enabling efficiencies and better decisions -- in planning, replenishment and forecasting.

With our manual processes, we needed a full week for planning and replenishment, and had no way of knowing how long an item was out of stock. Now we can do this in less than a day and provide different departments with real-time reports, said Greg Fox, director of planning for Cooking.com. These efficiencies have helped us optimise our sales opportunities.

Other benefits of the Catalyst solution include:
- Optimises product mix without increasing the inventory value
- Minimises out-of-stocks
- Analyses data to identify sales patterns and trends
- Enables faster introduction of new SKUs
- Provides efficiencies in the ordering process and vendor management
- Offers flexible reporting and SKU modeling
- Reduces need for internal IT support

This has made us more efficient in so many ways, and its given everyone the ability to make better decisions for the company, said Handlen.

We were pleased to extend our partnership with such an innovative online and catalogue retailer as Cooking.com, especially since we are equally committed to giving customers more choices and the highest level of service, said Jim Treleaven, Catalyst President and Chief Executive Officer. We look forward to supporting Cooking.coms supply chain operations as its business continues to grow and prosper.

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