New from JDA Software

Solution provider rolling out inventory management tools for food retailers

Scottsdale, AZ  February 21, 2003  Supply chain solution provider JDA Software Group is set to unveil the next generation of its JDA Portfolio solutions for food retailers, offering help for grocers dealing with complex inventory issues, as well as new functionality in various supply chain processes down to the shelf level, all in an application due out in June.

JDA says it teamed with Meijer, H.E. Butt Grocery and other food retailers to drive the functional design of new applications within its host transaction management software, Portfolio Merchandise Management.

In particular, the software company says it is offering a solution that addresses grocers' complex inventory management issues, as well as innovations in shelf, assortment and category management, replenishment and supply chain processes such as collaborative planning forecasting and replenishment (CPFR).

"On top of razor thin margins and meticulously controlled labor costs, the food industry is relentlessly competitive," noted Peter Charness, JDA's chief product officer and senior vice president of marketing. "More formats than ever are vying for the dollars that consumers spend on their food shopping trips, which average 2.2 times weekly."

According to Charness, grocers have long struggled with inventory management due to the special handling and attention that a vast amount of their products require. For example, perishable goods drive over half of a store's sales and serve as a key competitive differentiator as consumers place high regard on the freshness, selection and availability of produce, meat, bakery and deli items.

JDA says the new Recipe and Transformation Management application within Portfolio Merchandising is designed to help retailers dynamically manage product assortments, in store merchandising and pricing of perishables, including fresh and transformed products.

"By addressing complex details ranging from random weight to unit measurement changes and portions to ingredients and prep/cook/finish time, grocers will finally be able to track on hands, sales velocity, spoilage and direct profitability of any perishable product at any time to lower their operational costs and drive margins," said Charness.

The Recipe and Transformation Management application will be part of the Portfolio Merchandise Management 2003.G.0 release, which is planned for limited release to food retailers in June.

Other functionality to be included in this product version will include case pack management, intended to improve grocers' visibility of distribution center (DC) inventory by maintaining, processing and viewing inventory by case quantity, number of inner packs, buy unit of measure, inventory unit of measure, inner pack inventory units and inner pack count in sell units.

New pricing is designed to let grocers maintain inventory at the primary sell unit of measure while pricing products the ways that grocers sell them: by the pound, kilogram and each. The solution also supports other unique pricing needs, such as matrix pricing or rules for zones and/or store locations, expert pricing, competitor-specific pricing strategies, as well as electronic and paper coupon management.

Soft code stock-keeping unit (SKU) support allows soft coding of inventory transactions for a specific classification of SKUs, which can help grocers with expense and supply items, as well as when balancing branded and private label penetration by assigning unique characteristics to isolate private label products. In addition, product cost method functionality provides grocers with greater flexibility to choose their product cost method (for example, "on average" or "on current") by product hierarchy.

Charness asserted that JDA's solutions will help retailers gain better visibility and control over their inventory investment while ensuring the highest quality and most desired products on a localized basis are available for consumers.