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White Papers

We invite you to explore these informative white papers to learn more about the challenging issues facing the retail industry. Drawn from years of hands-on retail and technology experience, RPE functional and technical experts share their perspective to assist retailers in improving business in today’s omnichannel world.

Software Solutions
Hosting/Systems Management/Disaster Recovery
Retail Strategy

Software Solutions

The Long-Hauler Effects of COVID on Retail Allocation
During the pandemic, many consumers adopted online shopping and have not looked back. Now retailers are dealing with a large increase in returns. Add to that the disruption in the supply chain and changing demographics as people relocated, the Allocation process is even more challenged. Retailers can no longer rely on retail Allocation history and methods used prior to the pandemic.

The Critical Role of Retail Merchandise Management Software
For products to “hit the shelves” there is a strategic merchandising process that must take place. Merchandise management addresses all initiatives from purchasing products and managing inventory to distribution and vendor management. Merchandise management solutions play an important role in the entire process.

The missing link in Supply Chain: Supplier Performance
How are you identifying, capturing and reporting lapses in supplier performance/compliance? Even if everything else in your supply chain is performing optimally, supplier performance can be the missing link that undermines all of the planning and execution that you have worked so hard to perfect. When a supplier fails to uphold their end of the bargain, the effects are felt throughout your company.

Getting the Most Out of Your Software
All too often, software applications are underutilized, or they are no longer configured to run your business in today’s environment. There can be a number of reasons for this, but the end result is the same. You may not be realizing all of the benefits that the application has to offer. In reality, this can affect sales, margin, labor cost and even employee satisfaction.

10 Tips to Successfully Select a Retail Software Package
Selecting a software solution that meets the unique needs of your business, your customers and your team is one of the most important projects a retailer can initiate. Because of the time, expense and risk involved with even the best implementations, selection decisions will impact the business for years. All too often, the package chosen at the end of the selection process is not the best solution for the retailer’s needs. The process failed to select the software most appropriate to address the retailer’s needs and bottom line benefit potential is reduced. Following ten suggestions will improve your chances of success the next time you decide to kick off a software package search project.

10 Questions to Ask When Assessing Your Software Systems and Vendors
These 10 questions can quickly determine the state of your software and vendors. If you answer “no” to six or more questions, it may be time to look at a modern software solution from a trusted vendor to provide accurate, real time information across all channels.

Software Implementations: “Out-of-the-Box”or Intelligent Modifications
What do all retailers have in common? They strive to provide the right product at the right time to the right location. The most difficult challenge retail software vendors face is how to provide an all-inclusive out-of-the-box solution that satisfies the unique requirements for a wide spectrum of retail organizations. The challenge is even greater for the retailer. The day of the custom merchandise system is gone. This raises the primary question every retail IT executive faces when making package selection decisions. Do I change my business processes to fit the software solution or change the software solution to fit my business processes?

Planning & Allocation vs. Replenishment: When is Each the Best Strategy?
Assortment optimization, pricing decisions and promotional activity fall flat if the product is not on the shelf for the consumer to purchase. Out of stocks, overstocks and markdowns drive down already strained profit margins. How can the millions of item/store combinations be managed centrally to enable store teams to focus on the customer? Replenishment is a process that maximizes sales while minimizing inventory expense. It also frees time enabling your team to focus on the ultimate profit driver, the customer.

Replenishment: What is it exactly and why is it important?
Replenishment is an area within operations where retailers can find an edge to beat the competition and meet customer needs. Excelling at replenishment enables a retailer to implement the promotional, pricing and assortment strategies established. Plus, additional profit can be gained by minimizing inventory levels and reducing lost sales. Time is made available for analysis and special projects when fighting the fires of overstock and out of stocks is removed from the buyer’s day.

PMM Optimization ‒ A 5Point Perspective
As any retailer knows, one of the keys to success is having a competitive advantage. In order to achieve these advantages, the retailer must also possess the IT infrastructure to optimally support their business. Any merchandising system requires ongoing maintenance to maintain stability. RPE has developed a 5-Point PMM Optimization Model to help users better understand where they can improve the management and use of their powerful, open architecture, highly scalable system known as Portfolio Merchandise Management from Blue Yonder.

Advanced Business Intelligence: 5 Steps to Increasing Profits Through Informed Decision Making
By following this 5-step guide, retail companies will learn how to leverage the massive amount of data already being collected; accelerate and extend business intelligence from the C-suite to the stock room; and find the best ways to deliver products how, when and where today’s increasingly knowledgeable customers want them.

Four Solutions to Dramatically Improve Your Business
Developing a roadmap that closes gaps in an organization’s IT capabilities and identifies enablers that produce measurable results is key to thriving in today’s retail environment. RPE has identified four proven solutions that drive sales, raise margins and increase operational efficiencies. Deployed in an agile, short-duration roll out these solutions deliver strong bottom-line performance measured in months and not years. The four solutions: Business Intelligence, Price Optimization, Enterprise Planning and Omnichannel Fulfillment.

Case Study: Specialty Sportwear Retailer Adopts “Best In Class Solutions” for Planning and Allocation
With continued growth in the North America market, an upgrade to the Direct-to-Consumer Planning and Allocation System was needed to provide integrated tools, processes and technology for Planners and Allocators to more efficiently allocate to support each sales channel including Ecommerce, Branded, Employee and Outlet.

Case Study: Allocation Upgrade – Improving a Solution Investment
Retailers rely on Allocation as their core solution to identify the ideal mix to deliver merchandise as efficiently as possible to ensure customer satisfaction across all channels. This case study explores the Blue Yonder (JDA) Allocation upgrade process for a specialty retailer to provide new functionality and added training to maximize the Allocation application.

Case Study: Replacing a legacy system at vineyard vines
To keep pace with rapid sales growth and the opening of new stores, vineyard vines needed to implement an IT platform throughout its portfolio of stores to replace a homegrown legacy system that lacked the functionality to foster new store growth.

Case Study: RPE Implements Common Solutions Across Multiple Brands
A major lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories retailer operated independently with similar Allocation processes but on varying legacy systems. RPE implemented Blue Yonder (JDA) Allocation as a common solutions across these lifestyle and accessory brands in conjunction with Blue Yonder (JDA) Enterprise Planning.

Hosting/System Management/Data Recovery

Elevate the Power of the Cloud to Improve Performance
Pressure to reduce IT budgets, unexpected system downtime, user support issues and security compliance are just some of the challenges today’s business leaders face. Your IT systems hold important, and most of all, private, corporate information that must be always safely but easily accessible.

Cloud Hosting – A Practical Guide for Retailers
Retail executives are already struggling with omnichannel commerce and being further challenged to define the points of demarcation between what are viable and practical investments and what aren’t. When it comes to the cloud and hosting, its application spans several functions and disciplines. Over time, it’s likely to touch every aspect of a retail operation.

Top 5 Benefits to Utilizing Cloud Services
Discover five great ways cloud hosting and systems management services can help businesses operate, maintain and improve operations utilizing a secure and trusted Data Center infrastructure.

Disaster Recovery Plan Testing Before a Catastrophe Occurs
You never know when disaster will strike. It could be malicious ransomware, a natural catastrophe, hardware failure, intentional sabotage or human error. No data center or IT infrastructure is immune to potential disaster. Revenue, customer satisfaction and employee operations are all dramatically affected.

Retail Strategy

The Morphing of Store Operations in a Post Pandemic Environment
Retailers must adapt to changing shopping behaviors in order to succeed in a post COVID-19 environment. Consumers are anxious to go shopping again, but they will want to do it in a way that protects their health. Retailers who are ahead of the curve on the new retail experience stand the best chance of surviving this pandemic, but those that don’t may succumb to the virus.

The Importance of a Solid Quality Assurance Effort for a Successful Project
Quality assurance cannot be an add-on or afterthought. The time and resources required to thoroughly test must be factored in as part of the project plan from day one. No one wants to think about what can go wrong. But things can go wrong. A robust and detailed test plan can mitigate that risk enormously.

Ensuring Project Success
Every project is an opportunity for success. But there are a few things you can do to improve your chances for achieving your goals. Some of these ideas may seem obvious, but it’s still valuable to underline good practices of project development. An ideal way to approach project success is addressing three important categories: Planning, Execution and Communication.

CrossChannel Integration  Is the 21st Century Retailer Fully Integrated?
The concept of selling through multiple channels is not new to the retail industry. In order to provide the capacity to shop anytime, anyplace, and from anywhere, retailers need to provide customers the ability to transact from any one channel and fulfill or return in another channel. Retailers must shift their cross-channel organization toward the retail paradigm known as fully integrated cross-channel retailing.

Mapping Out a Retail IT Strategy
Creating and carrying out a strategic information technology plan brings a host of benefits to retailers. Strategic plans help keep the entire organization moving toward its business goals – even when facing unexpected challenges. For a plan to provide maximum benefits, it needs to combine big-picture vision with specific steps.

10 Key Steps for Project Success
All projects represent a significant effort justifying the allocation of resources and expense. Success is critical. Project failure not only diminishes or eliminates the benefits expected when the project is initiated, but can damage existing tools and processes. There are 10 key areas to be addressed for project success. Many of these steps happen concurrently during a project’s lifecycle and are important focal points for project teams and executives contemplating initiating projects.

Opportunities for Supply Chain Optimization: Common Scenarios for Softlines/Fashion Retailers
There are two key components in analysis of retail planning methodology. One is the type of planning tools used. The second is whether or not the tool is used in the appropriate place in the supply chain, at the appropriate level and is interfaced correctly to other tools and functions. Mapping all facets of the supply chain and ensuring the communication, data flow and effective integration of tools and applications – both forward and backward – are key to supply chain optimization.

Item Transitions: Maximize Profits from New and Exiting Items
Item transitions refer to periods of activities when retailers execute the addition of new items and removal of exiting items from a product mix. Adding new items to an assortment offers a chance to increase sales and gross margin. Removing items will ultimately eliminate unproductive inventory and make space for items with more profitable sales. Both events pose logistical challenges to the merchandising, inventory management and store teams responsible for implementing the change. Retailers who excel at item transitions will separate themselves from the competition by increasing profits and improving customer satisfaction.

Documentation ‒ Maximize Team Effectiveness and Extend the Investment
Documentation is often an overlooked step in major change initiatives. It may be bypassed or does not receive the attention it deserves. After all, once the project team has disbanded, users frequently feel isolated and on their own to continue using the new process or tool as intended. What other deliverable outside of documentation supports the users in their quest to improve results? Creation of top rate documentation can ensure long term success of change initiatives.

Distribution and Inventory Strategy Effectiveness
The goal of an inventory strategy is to minimize overall inventory costs such as transportation, distribution and inventory carrying, and to maximize revenue for a given service level. The ability to reach an optimal point of both revenue and inventory is dependent on four basic elements: supply quantity, supply timing, demand quality and demand timing.

Personnel Turnover: How to address the continual need for new training
Every retail organization has to deal with turnover in its personnel. It is important for teams and individuals to progress in their careers and grow professionally, which means people will leave and others will join the team. But this presents a continual training challenge, particularly when complex business systems and processes are at stake. What are the ways to mitigate this disruption? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?