Belk, the largest privately owned department store company in the US with more than 300 fashion department stores in 16 Southern states, has implemented Retail Enterprise Suite from global information technology services company Episys, to manage all its in-store signage requirements and has already seen a reduction of approximately 30-40% in signage printed unnecessarily. Belk replaced a largely manual and time-consuming series of processes in favor of an integrated, automated solution from Episys.
Janetha Jones, business systems analyst for the signage application at Belk, said, A lot of the initial features that were appealing to us related to the solutions ability to offer integration with other systems, including pricing and inventory, and the possibility of printing in-store.
Prior to implementing the solution, Belk used hand written requests for signage, and sent to an external company that created a PDF, which was then manually printed and these were sent to stores based on a spreadsheet. This method took a great deal of time and effort. Belk then tried a different process, using a Lotus Notes based application, with the templates designed in Quark, but it turned out be a very slow system, with which it was difficult to customize or integrate.
Belk received very positive feedback from its store associates on the Retail Enterprise Suite solution, especially that they liked being able to include more descriptive information on signage, including product detail and benefits, which act as a silent salesman.
Other benefits have included simplifying the spooling process. Previously this was done manually, with a user having to click and spool on each and every store before being able to print the signage. Now spooling is done by the system automatically in the background.
Jones continued, One of our biggest wins has been library signs, where at the start of a season we are now able to send the stores a set of signs for each applicable product with appropriate prices depending on the type of promotion being run at any time. This has reduced the number of signs we print by 30 to 40%. We will get a further reduction when we implement inventory integration and only send signs to stores that have the merchandise.
Weve built an excellent working relationship with Episys. Moving forward, weve really only just scraped the surface of what Episys can do, and look forward to exploring ways of further exploiting the solution.
Peter Lewis, Marketing Director at Episys, said, Belk have already realized the value of its investment. Our signage system has already delivered time and cost savings across its estate, crucial to helping it retain a competitive edge.