Jacques Verts Planet stores will benefit from an IT overhaul

Jacques Vert's Planet stores will benefit from an IT overhaul

UK women’s wear retailer Jacques Vert is about to undergo a major overhaul of its IT systems in response to growth in its online sales channels and an increased focus on multi-channel retailing.

The move will include the implementation of Retail Assist’s supply chain ERP solution, Merret, and Maple Lake’s QuickAssortment merchandise and assortment planning software early in 2011. This will be part of a significant investment in its online platform and other systems over the next 18 months.

Managing multiple brands – Jacques Vert, Planet, Precis Petite and Windsmoor – across various regions, sizes and styles means that Jacques Vert constantly has to analyse a complex range of products, through more than one thousand outlets in the UK, Ireland and Canada, as well as via web stores for each brand. The company also plans to launch a clearance website.

Merchandise planning and supply chain management are vital, since the group’s products are mainly supplied from the Far East and Europe, and either delivered to its central warehouse in the UK for redistribution, or direct to stores in Canada.

The process is made more complicated by different countries and sales channels generally requiring a varying mix of products.

“We need to be more reactive and operate a more effective supply chain to remain ahead of the competition,” says Ian Johnson, group finance director. “This means continually monitoring trends and identifying best sellers so that popular lines can be quickly replenished throughout the season.”

By using more sophisticated technology, the retailer anticipates reducing lead times by working more closely with suppliers and sharing more accurate sales data. Currently, planning for new lines is done a long time in advance, with limited repeat buys.

Johnson says the company has been relying until now on largely manual processes and complex spreadsheets for merchandise planning, and an ERP legacy system for supply chain management.

The Maple Lake and Merret software will feed data directly into its other IT systems, giving a single cohesive view to help improve performance management and financial reporting across the business. The business also envisages significant efficiencies in store replenishment and warehouse management.

“Merret will provide Jacques Vert with a full suite of supply chain and warehouse management software, enabling store staff and concessions to check stock levels and organise inter-branch transfers whenever necessary,” explains Retail Assist’s product director, Nigel Illingworth.