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New technology leads to reduced costs, faster decision-making for buying and merchandising, less discounting and improved stock management and fulfilment

We need to be more reactive and operate a more eff icient supply chain to stay ahead of the competition

womenswear brands, has reduced costs, minimised discounting and improved stock management after implementing new merchandise planning and supply chain software. John Bovill, Jacques Ver t Group commercial


director, said the company’s finance, business intelligence, retail and stock management systems were no longer suitable for multichannel retail. The previous supply chain systems did not suppor t planning, ordering, allocation or monitoring of stock, leading to time-consuming workarounds with an over-reliance upon Excel spreadsheets. The 12-year-old legacy systems also lacked integration, did not have a future development path and were suppor ted by an in-house IT team overburdening the business with suppor t issues. A key challenge of the project was the

international nature of the Jacques Ver t Group business. The group has 1,000 concessions and standalone stores in the UK, Canada and Republic of Ireland. Products are mainly supplied from the Far East and Europe, and delivered to the central warehouse in County Durham for redistribution, or direct to stores in Canada. Vir tual warehouses are also located in Hong Kong. Different countries and sales channels requiring a varying mix of products made these processes more complicated. “We need to be

more reactive and operate a more


omenswear retail group Jacques Ver t, which is made up of the Jacques Ver t, Planet, Precis and Windsmoor

effective supply chain to remain ahead of the competition,” said Ian Johnson, Jacques Ver t Group finance director. “This means continually monitoring trends and identifying best sellers so that popular lines can be quickly replenished throughout the season.” The retail group deployed new supply chain

system Merret, from Retail Assist, and Maple Lake’s QuickAssor tment merchandise and assor tment planning software to provide an integrated ‘single version of the truth,’ which has improved the user experience by accelerating decision-making for buying and merchandising. The improved stock management system has enabled the buying and merchandising teams to define optimum stock packages or targeted allocations for all channels. The automated product and sales data transfer provided by the new systems and host store par tners (House of Fraser, John Lewis and Debenhams) have led to productivity savings and a reduction in e-commerce staff costs, which had a positive impact on efficiency and profitability. The new systems have also enhanced discount

management, allowing the Jacques Ver t Group to sell product at the optimum price and increase throughput of stock. The Group now gets real- time stock updates every 15 minutes. It has also enabled the group to move from a five to seven working day distribution centre operation, improving order fulfilment. The Maple Lake and Merret integration has also provided enhanced space planning at a capacity and linear level, resulting in improved stock densities in store and the allocation of stock more aligned to what sells best and where. The seamless IT managed services transfer

from the in-house Jacques Ver t Group teams to Retail Assist allowed Jacques Ver t Group to focus on the IT strategic roadmap. As a result of the managed services transition, the Jacques Ver t Group IT team reduced staff costs by a third even as the group was aquired by the Irisa Group (formerly Alexon). Johnson added: “The project has allowed

the Jacques Ver t Group to react faster to the marketplace while lowering our cost base.”

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