WHSmith implements supply chain software

High-street retailer WHSmith will next month complete a wide-ranging retail systems upgrade as part of its ongoing initiative to...

High-street retailer WHSmith will next month complete a wide-ranging retail systems upgrade as part of its ongoing initiative to increase efficiency along its supply chain.

The company, which has 553 stores across the UK, is rolling out retail software firm Retek's Merchandising System and Demand Forecasting applications, in an attempt to improve stock availability and increase visibility of products along the supply chain.

The Retek applications, which will link into WHSmith's legacy IBM systems using a software platform from SeeBeyond, will help address specific issues, said Iain Winskill, business systems manager at WHSmith.

"We stock a number of fast moving goods, such as the new Harry Potter book, and slower goods such as stationery. We need an infrastructure to support both models," he said. "The new system gives us the flexibility to change things around quickly."

The SeeBeyond platform will provide a standard for inputting information into WHSmith's business systems, which will improve the quality of data and lead to more informed strategic decisions, Winskill said.

"We have to ensure our datawarehouse is using correct and up-to-date information," he said. "Previously, we created a new interface every time we inputted new information and this affected our strategic decisions. The new systems will give us 'one version of the truth'."

The SeeBeyond platform will also allow WHSmith's IT department to create new services more quickly, which was welcomed by IT staff, Winskill said.

"We can roll out new services very quickly and it is easier to launch pilots," he said. "The IT team see it as a great step in the right direction and a chance to be more proactive rather than just a maintenance team."

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