Having the potential for growth that exceeds the capability of your existing systems is a good problem to have, but it is still a problem. Groupe Dynamite, a fast-fashion women’s apparel retailer based in Montreal, faced that very challenge in early 2010.
“We had a highly customized legacy environment and a strategic plan to go global that were not congruent,” said Ian Booler, senior director business transformation and project management, Groupe Dynamite, which operates 300 stores under the Garage and Dynamite banners in North America and the Middle East. “We needed to invest in a new technology platform to get to another level.”
Fast Fashion, Methodical Rollout
With the assistance of Deloitte, Groupe Dynamite conducted a one-year analysis of its retail enterprise environment, and narrowed platforms down to Oracle and a couple of other retail enterprise vendors. According to Booler, the company selected Oracle Retail because it was the most adaptable to the specific requirements of the fast-fashion vertical and had a proven integration path to the TradeStone and MID allocation software applications, which were already deeply embedded in the best-of-breed framework at Groupe Dynamite.
Groupe Dynamite signed a licensing agreement with Oracle in June 2011, and in November 2011 selected Tech Mahindra as an integration partner. The two companies spent the next three months developing an integration and design blueprint, while Deloitte helped Groupe Dynamite scale its Manhattan Associates warehouse management system for the new, improved enterprise environment.
Detailed design then took until November 2012, when Groupe Dynamite started unit testing and then integration testing that lasted until April 2013, followed by an intensive round of user acceptance testing in the summer to ensure the platform would properly integrate with all applications and financial systems used by the organization.
In September 2013, Groupe Dynamite was finally ready to run two pilots — one on the Oracle Commerce platform for the launch of its Dynamite banner’s transactional website, with links to its existing Manhattan Associates warehouse management system, and another pilot focused on the distribution of store supplies using the Oracle Retail Merchandising System (RMS).
All Systems Go
Pilot results for the Commerce site included a tripling of forecasted sales volume on the Dynamite site and confirmed ability to accurately ship and receive goods in both retail stores and customer locations. In February 2014, Groupe Dynamite cut over all its retail and franchise stores to the new Oracle environment. Groupe Dynamite has also rolled out a shared online shopping cart for the Groupe Dynamite and Garage e-commerce sites, and is currently piloting Oracle Retail Point of Service (POS).
The new SOA platform has allowed for real-time integration of some key applications and increased transaction volume capabilities, with allocation message volume rising from 20,000 daily messages to 100,000 daily messages, as well as the ability to process them in real time.
“Once we roll out Oracle POS, we will have a real-time view of inventory at the distribution center and in the Store Inventory Management (SIM) system,” said Booler. “The Oracle Commerce platform now provides our customers with the ability to look up in-store inventory from all parts of the enterprise. With the Oracle POS, the stores’ inventory will be updated in a near real-time basis.”