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Dorma Group, the famous bed linens company, is using the Aldata G.O.L.D. Supply Chain Management software to support its retail operations.
Dorma sells through 170 concessions in leading department stores such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. This makes the systems challenges unique, as IT manager, Steve Alexander explains, The point of sale is owned by the retailer, so we are effectively having to deal with many different systems. And the problem with most systems out there is that it is difficult to separate the till from the back office.
Until recently, Dorma had no choice but to take this route. However, after five years with the same vendor, it was becoming clear for a number of reasons that a new solution was required. Equipment was starting to fail; the supplier wanted to upgrade Dorma to a new version that did not really suit its requirements for greater control; and, Dorma wanted to get away from the cost and inefficiency of managing 170 different databases and run the whole system via an intranet.
Existing systems also had limited functionality to manage the business that Dorma had become in recent years; Where we were once a self-contained manufacturer from raw material to final product, now we are sourcing all our product, says Alexander. Our changing requirements are effectively showing up the limitations of a number of our core systems.
First things first though; in early 2004, Dorma began to look for new back office systems to manage its concessions. The search quickly focused on three companies. It was a difficult decision to make, says Alexander. However, Aldata could not only prove the Internet capability, but they could also cover all our critical needs without the need for modification.
By allowing all data and processing to be controlled centrally, Dorma could avoid complex software distribution challenges. This is critical to Dorma as it requires the minimum of IT infrastructure in its outlets, but also needs to increase its overall supply chain visibility and customer service levels.
Alexander says, Aldata also provided the most cost effective solution and made a commitment to us that saw the project completed very quickly.
While the G.O.L.D. system is still being rolled out, Dorma anticipates a number of important benefits. "Dorma is known for excellent quality and value by our customers, and now we will be able to improve our in-store availability and reduce our costs through better inventory management", said Glenn Albinson, Managing Director of Dorma Group. The modular nature of the G.O.L.D. system allows us to quickly address our key retail requirements, and then to move on to provide improved systems in our head office.
Alexander adds, Support cost alone would justify the investment, by taking central control and not having to manage multiple databases. We can already tell stores exactly what is happening at any moment, without them having to wait for previous overnight store polling. A single back office system means that information is consistent, accurate and up to date, so we can plan better across the supply chain.
There will be further benefits for the stores. When a store is out of stock of an item requested by a customer, store managers can do on line stock checking of other stores in the area.
Dorma is now looking at the purchasing and sourcing functions within G.O.L.D. and may also look at sales and order processing. Alexander says, What we have with G.O.L.D. is the foundation for replacing other of our systems, which will give us real economies of scale.