Seasalt Cornwall - Real time visibility of management information and 40% productivity gains support the brand’s growth

04 December 2013

Successful lifestyle retailer and Cornish clothing brand Seasalt is expanding, recently opening its sixteenth shop in Chichester.  The brand, which opened its first store in Penzance in 1981, has 15 other shops across the South West, including Guernsey and the Isles of Scilly, employs over 200 people and its distinctive Cornish products are available online and through 350 outlets around the UK. As the brand has developed, so too has its reliance on strong inventory control, all round stock visibility and real time management information.

Seasalt - Siidmouth Store

The management team recognised early on they needed a reliable system to grow with them, so switched to Futura’s retail management system in 1999 for the first two stores, and have not looked back. Key system elements for the Seasalt team are total stability, usability and instant visibility of stock. Providing a true picture of whether stock is in the right place at the right time, all in real time, was a primary consideration for migrating from their original cash register-based system.  Today Seasalt uses Futura’s EPOS system to provide managers with current sales data from its stores, web, HQ and the warehouse. Real time visibility means the team can quickly examine sales, understand which lines are moving and react rapidly with preventive action on slow moving items. Accumulated sales history provides opportunities for in-depth analysis to predict trends and seasonal demand, making planning turnover levels for new stores reliably accurate.

Stuart Backhouse, Information Systems Manager, commented: “The automatic replenishment facility in Futura is especially important to us, to get optimal stock levels in store and meet demand from our online sales, now 25% of the business and expanding fast. We set minimum target stock levels, based on store performance and sales data, within the system, which runs automatically twice a week for stores and four times per week for the web.”

The system recommends movements to optimise stock holding in the virtual stock rooms utilised to manage our multi-channel business.  Automating this process has also freed up management time, while long-time reliability has inspired confidence.

Integrating Futura with Seasalt’s warehouse system delivered significant time savings and greater accuracy as well as giving a complete picture of the business. Because orders generated in Futura’s customer order module are organised by stock location, picking lists are laid out in geographic sequence and, for warehouse staff walking the aisles, this has seen productivity gains in the region of 40%.

Management Information

Accurate information drives performance, so the team uses Futura to generate a wide variety of reports to understand and interpret store data, with metrics to compare and share best practice. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are also used to measure success and drive improvements such as average units per transaction and average receipt value.

Seasalt - Sidmouth Store

Futura4Analysis, an additional data mining module, enhances core Futura reporting by providing more in-depth management information.  It takes analysis to another level of sophistication and in addition to detailed data on what is selling and what is sticking, enables the business channels to drill down through the product data to deliver actionable insights.

The team proactively uses the Returns Report, which provides supplier breakdowns with quantities, product group, item level and reasons, to drive quality through the supply chain, while other reports help monitor promotional discounts.  Reports that show late orders received can help improve customer service, as staff can see which customers may be affected by late deliveries into the warehouse, to make alternative delivery/collection arrangements.

Having this sophisticated information easily available allows the management team to monitor the rate of sale and to know when to start proactively promoting products.

Promotions

Good intelligence means the team can quickly spot slow selling items, fringe sizes or colours, and react accordingly. Futura makes it easy to plan and deliver active promotions to push stock through the business - these include multi-buy promotions or targeted promotions such as for Mother’s Day.

The team already have their eyes on Futura’s loyalty module, a points-based reward card solution, which they believe will drive further customer satisfaction with options for more focussed promotions and customer analysis.

Seasalt is obviously on the crest of a wave. Earlier this year they won the Queen’s award for Enterprise and Sustainable Development and they continue to support many of Cornwall’s traditional local crafts and producers.   With Futura in support, the company is clearly poised for its next phase of growth.