Donna Karan deploys merchandise planning solution from Maple Lake

Markham, Canada -- Donna Karan Co. is implementing a new merchandise, store and assortment planning software solution, QuickAssortment from Maple Lake, that will enable it to create assortments that align to the purchasing preferences of its customers in each location, as well as via its e-commerce stores.

QuickAnalytics is also being used to provide extensive reporting and
analytical capabilities.

“In the luxury market we have to be sensitive to the individual preferences of our customers and ensure that we have an assortment that inspires each  time they visit our stores,” said Donna Sarian, VP planning and allocation at Donna Karan. “From an inventory planning and management point of view, our challenge is to balance the needs of a multi-brand, multichannel organization with long design and buying cycles.  It’s very easy for departments to be disconnected and find we don’t have enough of the right product in the right stores.  With Maple Lake we’re joining all aspects of our retail planning into a single application, so that we can be sure our products, stores and assortments all balance.”

Sarian continued: “The quick win is obviously one of efficiency -- we won’t have to spend time maintaining our web of spreadsheets -- but the real value to us will be through greater visibility to the effects of our decisions on the bottom line. Understanding how deep to go on a markdown, quantifying the buys, fine tuning the targeted inventory levels to maintain just the right amount of cover -- all of these things will have a positive impact to the gross margin and the ability for the company to grow efficiently.”
Donna Karan used the power of social networking as part of its due diligence process to help choose a vendor. The team established contacts with existing Maple Lake clients and obtained informal references and on-site visits in absence of the vendor to gain a real world understanding of whether the solution could really add value.

Sarian concluded: “We knew that we had a good technical fit, we liked the product and we were confident in Maple Lake’s ability to deliver a project all before they walked through the door,” Sarian said.

 The QuickAssortment solution includes merchandise planning, store planning, store clustering, store assortment planning and key item planning. QuickAnalytics provides an extremely comprehensive reporting and analytical capability powered by MicroStrategy.  Technically, Maple Lake’s software operates on a Microsoft SQL server platform and operates within a client-server architecture. The system is integrated with a variety of merchandise management and business intelligence systems.

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