Competing in Retail – The Business Integration Challenge

Today, retailers are looking to gain real business benefits through better merchandise and warehouse planning, better promotional planning and integrating data from these systems to financial accounting and intelligence systems. In order to stay ahead in the increasingly competitive sports marketplace, all:sports realised this level of integration was the way forward.Microsoft-based solutions offering even greater management control over all aspects of its business.

Nearly 25 per cent of high street retail chains use CODA’s financial intelligence software to manage their accounts. The partnership with Alphameric brings together fully integrated best-of-class solutions that are already providing business benefits to many household retail names.Alphameric is providing all:sports with its Microsoft Windows-based, Chip ; PIN enabled EPOS solution, merchandise management and web site package, along with the CODA-Dream financial solution. Being entirely Microsoft Windows-based enables all:sports to fully integrate data and communications from its numerous systems throughout the organisation.

The Business Benefits

The new system has delivered greater efficiency, improved accuracy and enhanced reporting and analysis to all:sports. The inherent flexibility of the Alphameric-CODA solution allows all:sports to change documents and download and customise reports.The daily EPOS interface gives all:sports quicker access to the data, rather than waiting for paperwork, which was previously the case.

Store data, including banking, sales and VAT, populates the Alphameric EPOS solution, which is automatically downloaded overnight to the Alphameric system at all:sports’ head office. The Alphameric-CODA solution contains user-definable interface tables, using nominal codes, and enables the financial information to be drilled down to retail store and even individual department level. Commenting on the solution, Lee explains:”The interface, called Dream Portal, is set up how you want it to appear, picks up the relevant files and sends them on automatically. It has already greatly improved our processing times, for example reducing period end processing by one day, which can equate to an improvement of approximately 25 per cent.”The Alphameric-CODA solution, with its user-definable import facility, also gives all:sports the ability to import budgets created in other applications. This enables calculations to be carried out on- or offline and actuals and budgets to be compared.Goods received note handling (GRN’s) and orders placed are also automated into the system, allowing all:sports to double check the accruals position with the Goods receipt interface, something that was not easily done before.

The Alphameric-CODA solution also provides all:sports the ability to produce management accounts using reporting tools from the CODA-Dream database for easy analysis of data.Lee continues, “Overall, the system is much easier to use and to import and export information. We are able to produce reports quickly and simply due to the Microsoft platform and have the option to create various downloads to Excel for smaller reports as and when necessary.”Alphameric provides front-line support for the CODA product and develops the numerous interfaces that enable retail information to be imported into CODA to aid financial reporting. Lee comments, “With the dedicated CODA resource within Alphameric, responsiveness is excellent and also the advice we get is from both the retail and the financial perspective.”

The Future

All:sports is planning to implement another element of the solution which will enable stock information to be transmitted into the CODA application. This includes transactional information, such as store, supplier, warehouse receipts and stock movements in order to automate the cost of sales.

All:sports also works with Alphameric on its web-integrated ordering and on-line catalogue that will be automatically updated in real time when a new product is introduced. Linked to all:sports’ stock system, the on-line catalogue will ensure the automatic input of information every time a new line, style, size or colour is introduced.

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