Allocation seems to be a bit of a hot button for retailers just at the moment, but very few of the commercially available allocation applications really seem to meet the true needs of retailers. Well it’s a good job we’ve come to the party with an innovative and new approach that should provide just the right balance between the scientific and mathematical approaches to optimizing distribution and the creative and entrepreneurial side of inspiring customers.
Get the right product to the right place at the right time and at the right price.
It’s a simple concept for everyone to understand but for the modern multi-channel, multi-faceted retailer, it’s no walk in the park. Allocation is the point of no return. It’s the time where your vision for the products, the intelligence on your locations and their strengths, and your knowledge of current and expected performance all come together in a single decision – what do I send to each store today?
QuickAllocation™ is the answer to this conundrum.
Really, it is.
It’s joined at the hip with the industry leading QuickAssortment™ planning and assortment solution, so it always has clear visibility of the intended distribution and balances this strategic direction with new trends and goals. It’s proactive and reactive at the same time – pretty clever stuff really. In addition, with updated SKU/Store/Day information the solution also has continual access to extremely detailed availability and performance data to ensure the recommendations account for the very latest data.
By combining multiple perspectives QuickAllocation™ can provide a series of optimized allocation recommendations to make sure the vision and creativity of the presentation remains solid in each location, and the locations with outstanding performance are always kept vibrant with fresh merchandise.
The remarkable aspect of QuickAllocation™ though is in its ease of use. Building on the successful user interface of QuickAssortment™, QuickAllocation™ enables users to run extremely powerful scenarios and calculations with only a few clicks of the mouse.
If we made it any easier, you wouldn’t have to get out of bed in the morning.
The Benefits of QuickAllocation™
Increase Sales – being able to respond to daily sales and inventory patterns for each SKU, this enables you to identify (and take action on) those stores that are performing well and need to be fed with additional stock to maximize sales opportunities.
Increase Margin – by allocating first quality product to stores that have a propensity to sell that type of product you are improving the likelihood of selling the products at their full retail price. By avoiding the need for markdowns to clear redundant inventory at the end of the season, you’re getting more reward for the same initial investment. It’s that kind of logic that’ll get you promoted to the top.
Increase Customer Satisfaction – it’s almost impossible to quantify the true lost sales, but each of us knows how frustrating it is to see a product that you like, and the store doesn’t have your size or your colour preference. In some ways the disappointment is worse than the lost sale – it leaves the customer frustrated with your brand experience and reduces their desire to return. Improving the availability of the product that each customer likes in each store, and balancing the availability of the size offering will result in happier customers, and in turn greater sales.
Reduce Store Transfer Costs – Aside from the ecological impact of trucking product from one store to another, the financial impact isn’t a prettier picture. Whichever way you look at it, no one really likes store transfers, but if the product is misallocated in the first place, it’s a last resort to capitalize on sales. A smart allocation system (like this one coincidentally) can ensure that stores receive products in their preferred size curve not some arbitrary company ratio, meaning the stores can spend less time shipping and more time selling.
Preserve Brand Presentation – this is actually one of the weaknesses of many of the current allocation systems. They use some “black-boxed, top secret, no-one can understand it” kind of complexity (would you trust this?) to try and get the store/size matrix right for each product in isolation. They never look at the bigger picture. Guess what? With QuickAllocation™ you can look at the bigger picture. Almost no other allocation systems allow you to take this broader view of how the whole assortment is being distributed and how this affects the story that you are trying to assemble for the customers. Sometimes you have to step back from the numbers and look at it with your customers’ eyes.
Maximize Availability in Advance – one of the other weaknesses with many allocation systems (not this one obviously) is that they are always backward looking; continually relying on old data for their calculations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use a forward looking trend for each product to push out an inventory build for an event that you know is coming, but the history doesn’t show. Wouldn’t that be nice?
QuickAllocation™ has an extraordinary array of functions and features to help you simply whizz through the allocation process with a simply alarming level of accuracy and still be home in time for tea and scones.
Here are just a few of them:
- Flexible hierarchy definitions – define your own hierarchy levels or synchronize with your product master files.
- The ability to define a set of allocation metrics that are unique to your environment, and make easy, secure changes to this as your business grows.
- A Microsoft Office 2007 style interface – using the latest Microsoft Ribbon navigation styles the user can switch easily between QuickAssortment™ and the rest of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite.
- Client defined allocation calculations – use the interactive calculation wizard to define your own methods of calculating and prioritizing the store needs. Use combinations of indexes, percentages, store groups, original plan and other key metrics to define methods that make sense for your business
- Combine history and trends – a weighted combination of the same period last year and the last n weeks data can help combine the seasonal demand with the recent performance to provide strong indication of anticipated demand
- Look forward calculations – for highly seasonal products; analyze, create and utilize demand trends to predict the store needs rather than continually react to old data.
Ease of Use
- Master Allocation Screen – this is mission control. Here you can prioritize workload, review allocations across the assortment (or for a vendor or floorset), or drill into and amend individual allocations. It’s very cool indeed.
- Create your own screen definitions – manage your own allocation scenarios by applying filters to control order priorities and item sequencing (top 10 best sellers, items from one vendor, items assigned to a floorset, etc…).
- Simple to allocate – just select the inventory to be allocated, choose a method and calculate. See the results immediately at the detailed level and at the summary level to help assess the results. Even better, you can multi-select items and orders to allocate in a single click. If it was any easier people would start accusing you of being lazy.
- Establish thresholds and release rules – control how much inventory can be allocated at any time to ensure that stores are not over-filled, and that the bigger allocations receive management attention before being released.
- Store Eligibility – establish rules for any combination of store and product attributes to control the allocation eligibility; lightweight product to hot stores only, legal restrictions on types of fabric in certain regions, opening, closing and renovation dates to control the inventory flow.
- Store Capacities – constant visibility of the overall store capacity and how this is affected by the on hand, in-transit and allocated product.
- Distribution Centre Shipping Lags – we all know it takes a while to ship from the East to the West coast or from the North to the South, so build this into the store need automatically
- Collections – allocate groups of product as one, ensuring that the correct size ratios between products is maintained for each store.
TXT MAPLE LAKE is a certified Microsoft partner and our technical architecture is closely aligned to the industry leading platform provided by Microsoft. The application utilizes Microsoft SQL Server as the core database. The solution uses client-server architecture with a slim client and all of the intensive data processing being run on the server to optimize performance.
Each customer environment has a unique configuration that reflects their own data structures, definitions and movements, all of which are created and managed within the application, with no custom programming required to manage this. For every installation there is an extremely high degree of data integration required, usually with the Merchandise Management System to provide near real-time updates of order and allocation information in both directions.
To facilitate this QuickAllocation™ has flexible import builder that allows easy integration to almost any host system.
QuickAllocation™ has been developed interactively in conjunction with three major retailers in North America. The design has been validated by the Information Technology teams within the retail organizations to meet the highest standards of robustness and security. More importantly, the application functionality has been continually benchmarked with the end user community to ensure that the solution provides the level of sophistication desired but delivers this in a very easy to use and efficient manner.
I’m sure that this breathtaking description of the allocation solution has you dripping in anticipation; well the only way to satiate this desire is to contact us or give us a call and get us to show you what we are talking about. Hopefully you’ll be duly impressed and we can help iron out some of the wrinkles in your allocation process and really live up to the right product, right place mantra.
Company Founded: 2001
Head Office: Toronto, Canada
Satellite Offices: USA, UK, Australia
First Client: Roots Canada