Stronger merchandising & inventory control as Joy transitions to Futura

Lifestyle and fashion chain JOY, which operates online and through 20 outlets across the UK, has deployed new retail management and EPOS systems from Futura Retail Solutions, to drive improved business resilience and head office decision making.

With system implementation completed in record time, just four weeks from initial customisation and data migration through to full operation, the new real-time solution will support enhanced customer interaction at the till, live transaction and stock visibility across the business, with improved management control.

"New inventory management, merchandise planning and automated stock controls have delivered immediate benefits," enthuses Darina O'Connor, Merchandiser at JOY. "It's great – our favourite part of the system. With full stock visibility across the business, it's accurate, easy to manage and simple to update."

"Recommended reordering in place of manual purchase orders is particularly powerful, reducing our workload by 60% or more, freeing up time for more effective stock management decisions to optimise sales. It means store staff have more time to spend on customer service too," O'Connor continued.

Automated stock replenishment and the ability to dynamically set minimum and maximum stock levels add further time saving and accuracy. "These are fantastic, making every day merchandiser routines more productive, delivering greater confidence in allocating or replenishing stock and with it greater accuracy, helping to minimise over-ordering and costly markdowns," O'Connor added.

Improved goods-in processes and automated inter-branch transfers are also helping to save time and improve stock management across the business. "We can now rely on system intelligence to decide when to move stock to where it's selling best. This enables us to follow the trend and improve brand perception in terms of availability. And it's also improving our cash flow," she said.

Futura was selected based on earlier experience of its flexible merchandising capabilities and transitioning rapidly to the new system, including data migration, training and installation, has been a key requirement.

Futura's development team worked side by side with JOY to guide them through the process, first customising the system to map business processes and data structures, including product hierarchies and then loading core data. This included a product file of 55,000 items and sales history covering two years. With training completed for head office staff and store managers as well as JOY's lead trainer the new system went live in June.

JOY has also implemented Futura's Gift Card module, benefiting from the fact that it is integrated in the one system and not using an external third party.

Futura's Business Intelligence tool Analyser with customised trade pack reports and management dashboards is also providing at-a-glance performance information covering branch, department and category data, with weekly trade reports and comparative information for previous time periods and year to date. Together with department line prints covering product details and history the team now have a clear picture of the business to drive accurate decision making.

"Futura is the best fit for our business at this time, and switching has already delivered significant benefits", O'Connor says. "Automation has reduced the workload, freeing up time for more effective tasks and with real-time stock visibility we can respond faster to customer trends, spot opportunities and optimise sales to improve brand availability and service."

As to future developments, JOY is in the process of switching to a new web platform and will soon take advantage of the benefits offered by Futura's web integration software to fully integrate item, transaction and customer data within one system. Integrating the brand's wholesale warehouse is also work in progress.

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