For River Island, moving forward with new, integrated JDA Portfolio software has been instrumental in helping the UK retailer stay ahead in the fast-moving world of high street fashion. With over 200 stores in the UK and franchise outlets in Europe and the Middle East, the retailer is nearing completion of a major IT overhaul and already seeing the benefits of increased sales, decreased cost and vastly improved stock management. Well aware of the competitive advantage of adopting innovative systems to help plan faster selling ranges, River Island has implemented Portfolio Merchandise Management (PMM) and Advanced Allocation by Arthur. The company also fully rolled out JDAs Win/DSS in-store solution for improved customer service, and is currently adding software capable of easing the flow of goods throughout the supply chain.
Prior to JDA, River Islands legacy systems had lacked flexibility and integration, between certain business processes. These shortcomings influenced the company to engage new software systems that would allow everyone to work more proactively and efficiently together.
The Benefits of Integration
According to David Jenne, River Islands Head of Business Systems, implementation of the integrated JDA software applications has enabled River Island to achieve significant cost and operational efficiencies. The retailer has integrated all major systems that support its business, and are reaping the rewards from a number of benefits including the ability to electronically communicate with their vendors as well as to adhere to best practice processes in an easy-to-use environment.
Commenting on the overall benefits of the implementation, Jenne stated, Firstly; weve realised efficiencies and increased profit through tangible ROI. And secondly, having been through such a major IT overhaul, we now have a more robust, scalable and future proof technical infrastructure. This sets us up for moving forward with other key developments in the years to come, such as pre allocation, cross docking and RFI stock management in stores.
According to Jenne, significant benefits realised from JDA implementation include:
a quicker more efficient allocation process.
Increased sales due to the sophisticated daily replenishment system.
Reduced number of markdowns and significant savings thanks to the new replenishment processes.
Improved processes and positive impact on River Islands staff as a result of the ease-of-use of JDAs software applications.
Before, the purchase order process was heavily manual which often meant mistakes and delays, remarked Jenne. Today, all the manual work has been taken out, with all purchase orders transmitted to suppliers electronically and complete visibility of stock in the supply chain.
This is just one example of many areas that has been improved for the users, who have also gone through significant change. We wanted to do things smarter explains Jenne, a key deliverable that has been fulfilled by the implementation.
Tim Barton, River Islands Retail Systems Controller commented that replacing their legacy store system provided River Island with an advanced, functionally rich solution and critically a platform for future developments, such as optimising inventory management, RF applications, mobile PoS and customer conversion.
Systems are faster, more reliable and have reduced workload and increased productivity at River Island. But not only that; theres also the continued benefits that improved collaboration and integration brings to the business too, concludes Arnaud Decarsin, JDAs regional vice president of sales in the EMEA region.
Phased Project Fosters Internal Awareness and Collaboration
With such a large, multi-product installation, the retailer maintains that a phased implementation was the best approach for their project, and that cross-functional awareness and collaboration were major factors for success. According to Jenne, A key challenge was to successfully implement a number of new systems without adversely impacting the day-to-day running of the business.
The head office system was the first part of our implementation given that everything else feeds off it, explained Jenne. A natural course of events also meant that store systems had to be tackled more urgently than distribution.
The PMM software installation was initiated in 2000 and phased over three years, together with JDAs Arthur Allocation and followed by Win/DSS point of sale solutions which was recently completed mid-2004.
During the stores systems upgrade, River Island also decided to make all its stores Chip & PIN compliant, becoming one of the early pioneers of anti-fraud technology in the UK.
It had its challenges but made good commercial sense to build Chip & PIN into our point of sale project, making a single investment in hardware, integration, installation and training stated Barton.
With Jenne and Barton heading up two of the business project teams together with great support from the business IT department, the project was destined for success. Earlier this year at FOCUS 2005, JDAs annual User Conference, the two teamed up to deliver an inspiring presentation giving details of their successful implementation strategy, how they met their objectives and the lessons learnt. Their informative presentation gave everyone the chance to learn first-hand how to do things smarter themselves, especially when faced with the prospect of integrating multiple systems on-time and on-budget.
A Smarter Future
River Island has also overhauled its warehouse and logistics management with the implementation of a third party system in 2004. With numerous industry awards now under its belt and a successful deployment of multiple retail systems, River Island is constantly striving for more. And not just by moving forward in fashion circles, but by forging ahead with its business software systems too.