Ann Summers drops Excel for better management

Ann Summers has selected new planning software to ensure it can get the right products to its customers at the right time, across its multiple channels and brands.

The chosen IP planning module from vendor Island Pacific will replace time-consuming Microsoft Excel-based processes, as Tony Indyk, Ann Summers commercial director explained.

"We spend 80 per cent of our time collating merchandising information and 20 per cent analysing the data output via our current system," he said.

"With the new planning tool, we would anticipate that the time spent on these activities will switch and, as a result, we will be able to more efficiently plan across all levels, including channel, location, product and time (weekly or monthly), pre-season and in-season," he added.

The UK lingerie retailer will use the new software for merchandise, store, in-season and assortment planning functions. And, in addition to its store, e-commerce and franchise channels, the company will also look to improve stock management and availability across its 'Party Planning' business, as well as its alternative Knickerbox brand.

The new module will also allow Ann Summers to integrate store planning into its buying requirements, adding to the efficiency of its stock management and providing an additional, accurate tool for reporting purposes.

The retailer expects the first implementation phase of the customised system to go live at the end of May, followed by a business-wide roll out scheduled for completion by August.

Indyk added that the company saw ease of integration as the most important factor in choosing the new software. "It is in a relatively straightforward format, and does what we want it to do. The system will help us to plan in detail at all levels and across different hierarchy and multichannel," he said.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.