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Industry News - December 18th, 2009



SAP Unveils Sustainability Performance Management App

SAP BusinessObjects unveils its Sustainability Performance Management Application to help retailers execute sustainability strategies across the enterprise. The system helps retailers set sustainability goals and objectives, measure and communicate performance, and reduce data collection costs and errors. The system also integrates with existing systems to streamline reporting and analysis of sustainability data.

The Sustainability Performance Management Application provides a holistic view of an organization's sustainability indicators and features an interface that streamlines internal and external reporting. It helps retailers track compliance with sustainability strategies across the business. The application features a library of key sustainability performance indicators and is certified by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Certified Software and Tools Program. 

SAP BusinessObjects Sustainability Performance Management collects key performance indicator (KPI) data from a variety of sources, allowing customers to move beyond manual data collection and spreadsheet-based recording. The application leverages SAP's analytical tools and complements a roster of existing SAP sustainability products, including the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application SAP ERP; the SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management application; and the SAP Carbon Impact on-demand solution. 

The analytic functionality built-in to SAP BusinessObjects Sustainability Performance Management helps give a holistic, at-a-glance view of the sustainability metrics of a business, helping users measure, refine and showcase return on investment from sustainability efforts for maximum business impact. The application takes sustainability data and turns it into actionable information and insights, enabling retailers to aggregate results and examine performance across multiple dimensions. Planning workbooks support target and benchmark setting for different organizations and sustainability indicators, while graphical reports, dashboards and scorecards provide companies clear insight into their sustainability performance.


CORESense Unveils SaaS-based Retail Management Software

CORESense releases a full suite of new retail management features for single store and chain specialty apparel and footwear retailers. With this release CORESense added support for the creation and management of products in a grid or matrix format including product/sku creation, purchasing, replenishment, stock transfers, inventory management and reporting. 

Apparel and footwear retailers can leverage this Web-based application to meet all of their grid-based merchandising requirements. CORESense delivers the grid-based management and reporting as well as other features demanded by specialty footwear and apparel retailers in a fully integrated software-as-a-service solution. 

Other features included in the release and fully integrated in the CORESense retail management software solution are location (chain, region, district, and store) and merchandise (category, department, class and sub-class) hierarchies; electronic data interchange (EDI), in-house accounts and customer loyalty programs.


NCR Acquires DVDPlay, Adds 1,300 New DVD-Rental Kiosks

NCR expands its network of DVD-rental kiosks through the acquisition of DVDPlay, which operates approximately 1,300 kiosks in the U.S. and Canada. NCR is increasing its expansion goals for its DVD-rental kiosks in 2009; the company now expects to operate approximately 3,800 kiosks by the end of the year. 

NCR plans to work with its retail partners to convert DVDPlay-branded kiosks to its Blockbuster Express-brand. Through NCR's kiosks, DVDPlay customers will have the benefit of the largest selection of DVDs in the industry - NCR's kiosks hold more than 900 DVD titles - and access to other Blockbuster Express kiosks for DVD renting in their area. NCR kiosks are also digital download-ready. In time, consumers will be able to download movies from the kiosks to portable memory cards.

NCR's acquisition of DVDPlay expands its reach into states such as California, Colorado and Illinois, where NCR expects to further increase its Blockbuster Express presence.

DVDPlay rolled out the first DVD-rental kiosks in 1999. The company manufactures and operates approximately 1,300 kiosks in the U.S. and Canada. Conversions of DVDPlay kiosks to Blockbuster Express are expected to start at the beginning of 2010. 

Looking back at 2009, technology solutions providers have announced a long string of acquisitions over the past year. Acquisitions that took place in '09 include:

Workforce Insight/EntryPoint Global -November 2009
JDA Software Group/i2 Technologies -November 2009
NCR/Netkey - November 2009
GSI/Rue La La, SmartBargains - October 2009
Kronos/Stromberg - October 2009
Axsium Group/LSI - August 2009
SAP/SAF - July 2009
DemandTec/Connect3 Systems - January 2009


NRF 's Big Ideas Session Focuses on 2010 Store Trends

Retail's Big show is just a couple weeks away. Will you attending some of the thought-provoking, interactive Big Ideas sessions set to take place on the show floor? 

For the 5th consecutive year ARTS, IHL Group and RIS News will discuss topics that are top of mind for retailers in a session titled, "Retail 2010 IT Forecasts." This session will discuss how the ARTS development initiatives will take shape in 2010 and will feature highlights from the just released 2010 Store Systems Study, which is produced by RIS News and IHL Group. The study presentation will feature Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group and Joe Skorupa, RIS editor-in-chief. The session will take place on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 3:00 PM in the Expo Hall in Room 3D09. 

The National Retail Federation will host Retail's Big Show from January 10 -13th at the Jacob K. Javitz Convention Center in New York City. The Big Show features BIG !deas Boulevard, a venue where solution providers develop and present thought-provoking interactive sessions.

Some of the retailers that are on tap for this year's event include: 

Burlington Coat Factory
Donna Karan
Family Dollar 
Helzberg Diamonds
Hibbett Sporting Goods
Liz Claiborne
The Men's Warehouse

For more information on this session and the other Big Ideas Sessions scheduled during The Big Show, click here..


Autozone More Effectively Targets Sales

Autozone announces a string of initiatives that have helped increase the retailer's market share including enhancements to its hub stores and Z-net system, store refresh efforts as well as its new sales force management tool.

"We continue to see opportunities to leverage technology as a point of differentiation in this business," says William Rhodes, president and CEO, Autozone. "Our new sales force management tool which allows us to direct our sales force to specific accounts and provides us with meaningful data on the outcome of those sales calls continues to help us target our sales efforts effectively. 
Autozone also is focused on training as a key priority to improve customer service and increase sales. This past quarter, the retailer invested in store level meetings across all of its stores in order to provide better training for store associates.

"We continue to focus our time on discussing our initiatives to provide the best service levels, sell the complete job, and continue to expand our product knowledge to support our customers' needs," adds Rhodes.


Charming Shoppes Uses SaaS Platform for Better Inventory Visibility

Charming Shoppes renews and expands its Web-based data platform from GT Nexus for import management. Delivered via the software as a service (SaaS) model, the GT Nexus platform supports and automates a range of processes for the retailer, including item-level visibility, air and sea freight contracting, customs documentation, and performance analytics. 

"For the past few years, we have relied on the GT Nexus system to provide the visibility and control necessary to manage our import operations," said Laurie Everill, director of international trade, logistics and compliance at Charming Shoppes. "We have a great foundation in place which we plan to build out and leverage further across our operation, including expansion of capabilities into automated freight audit and actual landed cost calculation."

The platform includes an import data hub that captures and standardizes information about inventory and shipments, fed into the system electronically from other systems run by partners in the supply chain. The data is then used to populate a suite of Web applications that, in turn, automate key import processes as well as interface data with internal mainframe based systems. 

Capabilities of the Charming Shoppes' platform include:

- Item level visibility at the bill of lading, container, purchase order, SKU, size, color, and/or style level
- Customs document creation
- Ocean and Air freight contracting and spend management
- Import performance analytics and reports

Charming Shoppes is able to track inbound inventory broadly at the container level or according to details such as size, color, or style. Exception management and the capability to deliver proactive alerts if something does not go according to plan help minimize surprises and keep supply chain stakeholders informed. Visibility data is also repurposed and fed electronically to Charming's Customs broker for entry documentation preparation.

The retailer also manages its global air and ocean freight spend on GT Nexus. The platform automates the bidding process and serves as the central contract rate repository. The future extension into freight audit will allow Charming Shoppes to match the actual contracted rate information with electronic freight bills to deliver a true comparison between the rates in the contract and what was executed.

Global business intelligence is the strategic component of the platform. Charming has the ability to access all of their actual import data and perform deep performance analytics. Reports can be generated "on the fly," based on actual, real-time operational data. Performance can also be compared to historical data that is stored on the platform.


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