Helping Retail Allocators Adjust to Changing Merchandise Strategies

With latest version of allocation solution, AIS aims to tackle retailers' biggest merchandising challenges

With latest version of allocation solution, AIS aims to tackle retailers' biggest merchandising challenges

Boulder, CO — May 25, 2005 — Retail sector solution provider Applied Intelligence Solutions (AIS) has taken the wraps off the latest version of AllocationXpert, its business intelligence software designed to help retailers drive higher sales and margins by replicating decisions of a company's top allocators. The updated version adds features intended to assist allocators in better placing merchandise, improving store presentation and adjusting to changing strategies and market conditions.

AIS says that, unlike other commercially available software, AllocationXpert directly addresses the need to better place items in stores by "learning" from "best practice" methods of top allocators and helping all users to capitalize on that information to provide more profitable results.

The solution can be used on top of existing systems and, AIS says, addresses the industry need to make more intelligent business decisions. Technology consultancy AMR Research has identified "top-down" merchandise management approaches as an issue for retailers, noting in a recent research note that such approaches "do not adequately synchronize decisions across thousands of SKUs and stores, resulting in store assortments, space allocations and inventory levels that fail to match consumer demand."

"Making the right allocation decisions is essential to improving inventory management and store presentation and driving higher sales and margins," said Jim Dixon, president and CEO of AIS. "AIS' latest version makes significant strides to assist users in improving the quality of allocation decisions with these end goals in mind."

New Features Target Three Areas

Even months after deployment, AllocationXpert continues to learn from retail customers to identify dynamic factors in the decision-making process, the solution provider said. The update features in version 1.4 further capitalize on the engine's ability to uncover key variables used by top allocators when shipping merchandise to stores, helping them to make better, more profitable decisions, according to AIS.

New features include advanced data analysis techniques intended to improve the quality of allocation decisions and real-time, automated methods to assist users in managing allocation environments. AIS said that AllocationXpert 1.4 augments existing systems and processes in three areas:

  • Improved Allocation Strategy. AllocationXpert replicates the decision-making patterns of top allocators to better place merchandise in stores. With new, automated methods and filtering tools, the software was designed to assist users in assessing factors essential to improving store presentation, optimizing inventory levels and eliminating over-shipments.

  • Enhanced Analytical Tools. The solution features a graphical user interface (GUI) designed to assist users in viewing final allocation distribution. The interface also gives users the ability to examine multiple allocation scenarios, allowing them to compare and analyze allocation decisions in greater detail.

  • Data Management Tools. AllocationXpert's Virtual Store Clusters and Electronic Notes are among the data management tools designed to assist users in adjusting to changing market conditions. With the ability to build and manage store groups on-the-fly, users have the power to improve placement decisions and ultimately drive higher revenues. Electronic Notes also give users quick access to store comments or instructions and preserve the "allocation history" of store anomalies to be used in future allocations.
Other retail planning vendors highlighted in the recent AMR report "Advanced Retail Planning: Achieving Effective Demand and Merchandise Synchronization," written by Alexi Sarnevitz, Sriram Thodla and Joyce Moncrief, included Alphameric/Compass, ANT USA, Evant, Galleria, GERS, i2, Island Pacific, JDA, Nexgenix, NSB, ProfitLogic, Retek, SAP, SAS/Marketmax and Teradata.

Additional Articles of Interest

The focus in the retail sector has shifted from managing the movement of goods to managing the information about goods. Read more in "Ramping Up the Retail Supply Chain," in the February/March 2005 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

For a look at how Canadian company McCain Foods is overcoming data synchronization challenges in its supply and demand chain, see the article "Building a 'Trusted Source'" in the April/May 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

Companies in this article