Slumberland speeds communication between stores and headquarters with IBM WebSphere Portal Enable and IBM Lotus Web Content Management

Published on 04-Dec-2009

Validated on 21 Oct 2013

"Information and tools must help us sell more furniture, save money, and improve the customer experience. Fortunately, IBM WebSphere Portal does just that." - Jamie Page, Director of Information Services, Slumberland

Customer:
Slumberland

Industry:
Retail

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Mobile

IBM Business Partner:
Genus Technologies

Overview

Slumberland opened its first furniture store in Minnesota in 1967. It has since expanded to 120 retail locations and 3 regional distribution centers in 11 states across the central United States.

Business need:
The Slumberland Furniture corporate headquarters needed a better way to communicate with its 120 geographically dispersed retail locations. A key document driving this need was the company’s store operations manual, which contained proprietary information that needed to be updated quickly and often. In assessing portal solutions, Slumberland sought scalability, an open architecture and integration with its Oracle-based ERP system.

Solution:
Leveraging IBM WebSphere Portal Enable and IBM Content Manager software, Slumberland worked with IBM Business Partner Genus Technologies to develop its store operations intranet portal solution, SlumberLink. IBM Lotus Web Content Management acts as the Web content repository for the portal. All of these products are part of the Retail Integration Framework portfolio.

Benefits:
Stable and reliable information architecture that offers ample load capacity and flexible application integration; Secure access to corporate content with data maintained directly by content owners with automated workflow; One common data repository that includes connectivity options for vendors to maintain their own data; Savings of approximately US$100,000 annually by replacing courier services with electronic document capture and automated routing

Case Study

Slumberland opened its first furniture store in Minnesota in 1967. It has since expanded to 120 retail locations and 3 regional distribution centers in 11 states across the central United States.

Challenge

The Slumberland Furniture corporate headquarters needed a better way to communicate with its 120 geographically dispersed retail locations. A key document driving this need was the company’s store operations manual, which contained proprietary information that needed to be updated quickly and often. By supporting the manual and other key documents like training materials and visual merchandising plans with an electronic solution, the company could provide more timely information, reduce printing and shipping costs and help prevent sensitive material from getting into the hands of competitors.

In assessing portal solutions, Slumberland sought scalability, an open architecture and integration with its Oracle-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. With these capabilities, a portal solution would deliver knowledge and content as well as serve as a platform for application development and consolidation. Integration with the ERP system would also improve searchability and usability through role-based access to relevant information for staff.

Solution

Leveraging IBM WebSphere Portal Enable and IBM Content Manager software, Slumberland worked with IBM Business Partner Genus Technologies to develop its store operations intranet portal solution, SlumberLink. IBM Lotus Web Content Management acts as the Web content repository for the portal. All of these products are part of the Retail Integration Framework portfolio.

The SlumberLink portal gives all 2,300 Slumberland employees centralized access to pertinent, up-to-date information and functional applications. Role-based access by department and store allow employees to easily find relevant, up-to-date information previously printed in the store operations manual, including areas such as human resources, sales administration, merchandising and marketing. Video content is uploaded, stored and delivered through Lotus Web Content Management and the Genus Video Upshot solution to assist in training initiatives.

SlumberLink also provides real-time product information including features and benefits, warranties, wood types, finishes, and fabric options. Sales associates have immediate access to advertising program details and special offers from both Slumberland and its competitors. Another portal application automates the flow of financial information from each branch through distribution centers and ultimately to the accounting department at Slumberland’s headquarters.

Replacing the printed merchandising plan, Genus Technologies developed an electronic Master Display List (MDL) that acts as a flexible visual cataloging solution that allows merchandisers to specify and organize all furniture displayed in each store. In some stores, staff can access the MDL wirelessly with a tablet PC as they arrange the store’s display floor to provide a consistent guest experience across all Slumberland stores.

Merchandisers can use an application on the portal to perform robust calculations to determine current and future order needs, including helping the merchandiser fill trucks to capacity. The system is tied into Slumberland’s ERP system and marketing database to further enhance its predictive ordering capability.

The brainchild of Slumberland’s owner, an annual program challenges all employees to formally commit to personal mission statements. Employees can complete the commitment form electronically on SlumberLink and receive personalized responses and feedback from Slumberland’s owner through the portal.

IBM Lotus Sametime is used by customer service agents to communicate directly with stores and quickly address issues around delivery schedules and other challenges.

Benefits

-Stable and reliable information architecture based on IBM WebSphere Portal, Lotus Web Content Manager and IBM Content Manager that offers ample load capacity and flexible application integration

-Increased employee effectiveness with faster access to information and applications

-Secure access to corporate content with data maintained directly by content owners with automated workflow

-One common data repository that includes connectivity options for furniture and accessory vendors to maintain their own data

-Savings of approximately US$100,000 annually by replacing courier services with electronic document capture and automated routing

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
WebSphere Portal Enable, Lotus Sametime, IBM Web Content Manager

Legal Information

Copyright IBM Corporation 2009 IBM Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States December 2009 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Lotus, Sametime and WebSphere are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. The information contained in this documentation is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this documentation, it is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this documentation or any other documentation. Nothing contained in this documentation is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM (or its suppliers or licensors), or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software.