New York -- On their recent earnings (second quarter) call with analysts, Coldwater Creek CEO Jill Brown Dean and CFO/COO James Bell talked technology, specifically discussing the results of the company’s implementation of the new Oracle-based inventory planning system.
The implementation was competed in March 2013, Bell noted. He added that while the company had, in recent years, developed many inventory management disciplines, it was lacking adequate tools to fully maximize its inventory investment.
“The capabilities of this new system are significantly more robust than anything we’ve used in the past, providing a level of transparency that represents a meaningful opportunity for us to drive more consistent sales and margin improvement over time as we become more proficient with this new capability,” Bell said.
Dean noted that system gives the chain the “precision” to plan floor set-by-floor set, week-by-week to ensure that each of its big businesses and key categories is appropriately positioned in the preplanning phase and then appropriately reacted to, be it in promotions, slowing down inventory in the supply chain, or moving it up inventory.
“It’s giving us a tremendous level of insight and visibility that we have not had,” Dean said.
Bell explained that the system allows for preseason planning and the ability to look at historical performance in a way that “we haven’t before in terms of transparency.” With regards to in-season, the capabilities and visibility of the Oracle system allow the company to read and react in a much better way.
“So it’s both the pre- and in-season capabilities. I think those are the critical factors,” Bell said.
Ultimately, the system allows the chain to buy more efficiently upfront, and also be much more efficient in terms of the management of any particular item throughout its entire life cycle — when to go to a first mark, how deep to go to that market, how is it performing at full price, how long do you keep it there on a weekly basis, etc.
“These are all capabilities that we’ve been employing, but not with the level of transparency that this system gives us,” Bell said.
He added that the first season Coldwater Creek did preseason planning utilizing the system was for its holiday assortment upcoming.”