With 620 stores and counting, the national eye care services brand supports an expanding volume and selection of merchandise with Island Pacific.
Few retail businesses operate a merchandise hierarchy as complex as that found in eye care. Endless eyeglass and contact lens prescription permutations coupled with the fast-fashion nature of eyewear result in a dynamic and multifarious merchandise management effort. Without equally dynamic planning and allocation tools, multi-site eye care retailers like Visionworks, which boasts 620 stores spread across 40 states and the District of Columbia, can struggle to meet the product selection and in-stock demands of their customers.
The challenge is compounded by steady growth, which Visionworks has been enjoying in recent years. The company’s plans call for 1,000 locations by 2018.
Legacy Tools Limit Planning Flexibility
“We realized a need for more robust planning tools back in 2009,” says Kelby Harke, VP of inventory and supply chain management at Visionworks. “At the time, we were using core Island Pacific stock ledger functionality to manage merchandise plans. That approach allowed us to download data into Excel, where we calculated open-to-buy and created our inventory plans.” Visionworks supported inventory decisions using analytics derived from an older Marketmax business intelligence tool. “The BI and stock ledger tools gave us accurate beginning of period metrics, and it worked fine when we had a few hundred stores,” says Harke. But as the company’s store count and merchandise mix expanded, Visionworks realized a lack of visibility into the deep reaches of its complex merchandise hierarchy, hampering efforts to optimize the presentation of its products to customers.
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