A favourite ski and outdoor shop to clients not just in Australia but internationally, Larry Adler Ski & Outdoor also has the privilege of being the official boot fitter for the Australian National Ski Team for the past three decades. In many ways, this hallmark is a reflection not only of Larry’s many years of experience in the industry, but of the company as a whole, and its abilities to provide the finest quality ski and outdoor goods and service to all customers at a competitive price.
Larry Adler is made up of seven retail outlets nationally and internationally.
Operating for over 30 plus years and over 20 years of those using a system called Intouch. Intouch served the retail ski giant well, but a few fundamental issues plagued the system. The main issues being:
- Stock control – Lack of visibility into stock levels, poor ability to order and receipt stock, stock locations, branch transfers,
- Reporting – with years of data, reports could take upwards of a day to collate and generate a simple report on stock on hand, sales, purchases, etc.
- e-Commerce connections are integral to retailers these days. With two websites utilising Magento and Shopify, Intouch had very poor options to connect directly to the e-commerce solutions.
- Outdated architecture doesn’t allow native API connectivity to Xero accounting system. This means accounts have to manually journal sales, purchases and adjustments.
The solution was to use a cloud-based inventory system. The Adler team chose to use DEAR Inventory System and needed an implementation team to put it in. The job had its challenges as the prior system provider Intouch, refused to give us full access to their database. This was further compounded by the fact that Intouch had very limited reporting capability. This caused the job to dramatically slow down and the project timeline had to be extended to accommodate this.
Finally, it was a combination of data manipulation and manual data entry that got a lot of the data into the system. The Adler team assisted in the manual entry of a large number of SKU’s. However, with anything manual, inevitably mistakes are made, and this also had a knock on effect down the track. But as the snow season drew closer, a decision was made to push on despite us raising these concerns.
The main knock on effect was mistakes in data entry made it very hard to stock take the stores, it also made it incredibly difficult to map to both e-commerce solutions, and caused a myriad of headaches.
We finally went live at the start of June and despite many hurdles, most especially with the issues we had raised earlier in the implementation. We worked hard with the accounts team and managers to get the system to work they way they had originally envisioned.
The key takeaway from this is that each client is unique and brings its own complexities, and there is no one size fits all implementation. The Adlers are a large team, with 50-100 staff, and a lot of moving parts. It isn’t always fun and games, and often frustration creeps in from both sides, but the key is keeping one’s eye on the finish line, as with life there are valleys and mountain tops, and so it is with implementations.