Brown Thomas - Case study

Transformed inventory processing and payback within a year

Learn how Brown Thomas Arnotts realised greater efficiencies in their retail and buying functions with a tailored Inpute workflow solution.

Intelligent data capture solutions | Brown Thomas case study

Project at a glance

Challenge we helped to solve:

Brown Thomas Arnotts has several stores and warehouses across Ireland but lacked visibility and control of stock across all locations. 

Solution delivered:

A workflow solution was deployed which handles goods received to the central warehouse, shipments to individual stores and interstore transfers, all while integrating to the backend merchandising systems. Further improvements have been made to the core system since including integration to handheld devices, new debit note processes and a temporary process for handling web orders.

Solution for:

Capabilities deployed:

Business results we delivered:

  • Realised return on initial investment within the first year of deployment
  • Greater visibility and control of stock across all locations
  • Full audit on movement of goods increased accountability and reduced manual errors
  • A centralised view has given greater reporting functionality 
  • The solution is built to scale as the business expands

“We looked for greater efficiencies in our good inwards department. We got it with Inpute’s implementation”.

Bernard Sheehy
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Director, Brown Thomas Arnotts

Challenge

Each store received goods directly from suppliers and each with its own method of recording and tracking deliveries

Brown Thomas Arnotts is Ireland’s most prestigious lifestyle store, housing the world’s most exclusive designers from fashions and accessories to beauty and home. The Brown Thomas Arnotts group prides itself with an unrivalled shopping experience across its stores in Dublin, Cork, Limerick & Galway.

Each store received goods directly from suppliers and each with its own method of recording and tracking deliveries. Due to the huge amounts of stock received into each individual store - anomalies would occasionally occur.

Brown Thomas tasked Inpute to devise a system which would provide:

  • Stores in different geographical regions with the ability to view thousands of products with correct product pricing (and the ability to change) at any given time.
  • Paperwork, such as delivery dockets and invoices, to be matched automatically with the information contained within their merchandising system.

    The company decided it needed to have a centralised point of distribution. “There are three broad steps, the physical goods moving, the paperwork and the merchandising system, ”said Bernard Sheehy, finance director at Brown Thomas.

    “Our old system had lacked the inherent integrity to ensure that everything would all move in unison, therefore this involved excessive administrative resources in ensuring stock and system accuracy. If everyone updated the system and paperwork that was fine, but how could we ensure that if something such as a stock transfer happened that physically the paperwork and the systems were updated simultaneously?”

Solution

A workflow platform built to adapt to changing business requirements  

Sheehy decided to approach Inpute to seek a solution to the problem. At this point, the Brown Thomas Arnott group was looking for a merchandising system that had visibility when goods were booked and received. The company changed its method of operating totally from receiving goods directly from the vendor to each store to being dispatched from a centralised distribution point.

Following a review of the existing process flow, Inpute implemented a workflow solution that provided the Brown Thomas Arnotts Group with the transparency the company required.

The thin client workflow platform enables exceptions to be raised on a delivery and completely manages return of damaged goods.

The company now receives up to 40,000 deliveries per annum, to be redistributed across the seven stores. With up to 45 internal users working across the system, clear efficiencies have been gained.

Result

Difference we delivered

Both the buying and retail functions of the business now have visibility on what’s been booked in, when it’s been received, how long it’s been there, how many cartons received as well as unit number and value.

“The system has been great,” said Sheehy. “It has allowed us to go from receiving into individual stores, to getting everything from a centralised point, cutting out unnecessary administration”.

“In the past stock would arrive at Goods Inwards, placed on a spreadsheet and e-mailed to certain people but not everyone could access it or not know where to access it. We looked for greater efficiencies in our good inwards department. We got it with Inpute’s implementation”.

“It has the whole audit trial and you can see from beginning to end how long it took to process. So it’s given transparency where there was none and hence confidence and allowed us to go to centralisation. Furthermore, it’s reduced paper stock loss and with that people efficiencies”.

With hundreds of deliveries per week the Brown Thomas Arnotts Group said it got return on investment in the project within a year and is extremely happy with Inpute not only as a solutions provider but also in its philosophy as a company.

“I would recommend Inpute, I have worked with them for a long time and they have a very good understanding of our business needs”.

‘The solution implemented for Brown Thomas Arnott has proven to be a platform that can easily adapt to the changes in business requirements and technology. Changes to the backend, integration to handheld devices, new debit note processes and a temporary process for handling web orders were all easily accommodated. ‘

Aidan Mullin
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Director of client services, Inpute