For global businesses, keeping track of products and sales can seem overwhelming. For one fashion brand, the use of an automated data collection system has made this process much easier.
The French Connection Group is based in the United Kingdom, but distributes clothing to more than 100 retail stores around the globe. The company's IT director, Claire Joel, recently wrote an article for Baseline Magazine about how their data collecting and inventory management tools help the organization keep track of its shipments.
Providing product to these stores requires having the right stock available every day, Joel said.
"To do that, we need timely, accurate information," she wrote. "This means that our IT systems must gather and collate sales and inventory data from point-of-sale, warehouse and production systems, then input it all into the company’s centralized SAP ERP landscape very quickly. This data can then be used to determine product distribution and replenishment from the warehouse to the stores."
Since implementing the management tools, Joel said the distribution process has become simpler and the IT department has a better understanding on the company's activities.The solutions have also dramatically improved the reliability of The French Connection's stock-replenishment process, which ensures that products are available to ship to stores when necessary. The number and times of sales are gathered and inventory data is collected automatically throughout the day, Joel said.
These tools have been so helpful that the company has easily seen a return on their investment - it has "paid for itself," Joel wrote.
Fierce CIO reported that this process of tracking inventory, sales and product distribution had previously been done manually, with contractors working around the clock. However, with the automated data collection tools currently available, companies can create more reliable restocking processes and avoid having to pay employees to remain in the warehouses all night.
The future of retail
Data collection tools will continue to shape the retail industry in the future, The Nation reported. As consumer demands increase, companies will have to find new ways to operate more quickly and efficiently.
"Every customer interaction and movement of a product through a distribution network is measured and can be used to refine pricing strategies, update inventory location and quantity decisions, and tailor customer incentives on websites, e-mail, mobile devices and catalogues," the article stated. "The days of relying solely on point-of-sale data to determine pricing and manage inventory levels are long gone."