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    Homeware supplier, Caprice makes better inventory management choices with Phocas


    Caprice homewares uses Phocas business intelligence (BI) software to make better inventory management choices. Managing director Harvey Lewis says using the software is one of the smartest things he’s ever done. He estimates overall annual savings to the business of at least Aus$500,000 which is achieved by reducing the amount of reporting staff and stock that wasn't selling.

    About Caprice

    Formed in 1959, Caprice is a Melbourne-based family-owned business with a long heritage. The business employs up to 150 people, and supplies more than 15,000 products across half a dozen categories, ranging from bed linen to footwear and luggage. Caprice sells to around 400 customers including Spotlight, Kmart, Target, Briscoes, Farmers and The Warehouse.

    “We are the single largest home textile buyer and distributor in Australia and New Zealand,” Lewis said.

    When IT General Manager Anni Stroud began looking for a BI tool, she handed over flat files of product, customer and transactional data to the Phocas team. They returned a few days later to present the solution with Caprice’s own data, and “proceeded to give us an extremely good demonstration that showed exactly what the product could do for us,” Stroud said.

    For the Managing Director Lewis, Phocas’s ease of use was instantly apparent in the demo.

    “Even for an inexperienced user, it made it quick to get on top of a lot of high-level information."

    Before Phocas was implemented, Caprice was using ad hoc reports to extract data from IBS, and trying to upload information to Microsoft Excel. “It wasn’t very successful”, Lewis said. “It was cumbersome and hard for people to actually use. Phocas has made my life easier because I no longer have to write reports every single day.”

    Caprice now uses Phocas in conjunction with their existing ERP system IBS Enterprise, one of many ERP, CRM and database systems Phocas can work from. Caprice has its system data updated overnight, putting the latest data at the fingertips of the company’s divisional general managers each morning.

    Use of Phocas Xpress is relatively recent, giving browser-based access to a number of retail customers who are now able to check stock availability for themselves by viewing inventory and purchasing data.  That’s an enormous benefit to Caprice, Lewis says, since it has reduced the number of phone enquiries about stock delivery.

    But the benefits, in terms of monitoring sales and inventory management  are most striking.  “It gives me and my managers the ability to quickly get a handle on information such as high-volume selling items, margins, sales by customer and prioritising of customers and products. We can actually get down to the level of asking why a particular customer hasn’t bought anything from us over a period and go back to see what’s happening.”  He estimates overall annual savings to the business of at least A$500,000 which is achieved by reducing the amount of reporting staff and stock that wasn't selling.

    “It has improved our inventory management choices. We’re getting much better information to make decisions about the quantities and lines we order. “We now have the right items in stock so the relationships with our customers have improved dramatically — and that’s priceless.”  The head of planning at a large retail customer recently commented “you guys have it all under control”.  “That was great,” Lewis said. There’s nothing like having your customers compliment you on your data intelligence.

    For more information about using inventory management software, watch this webinar about Inventory and stock insights.

    Watch the inventory and stock insights webinar

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    Written by Rick Toepfer
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