SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--Jan. 8, 2004--JDA(R) Software Group Inc. (Nasdaq:JDAS) announced that Family Christian Stores, the leading specialty retailer dedicated solely to the $4.3 billion Christian retailing market, successfully completed the first phase of its implementation of JDA`s next generation point-of-sale system, Portfolio POS(TM) (PPOS(TM)) and Portfolio Store Portal(TM) at the back office. With more than 325 locations in 39 states, the retailer officially called the pilot a success after confirming that JDA`s new Java-based PPOS could deliver strong functional performance, scalability and stability at its nine Chicago-area stores during its busiest period beginning mid-November through the end of December.
According to Jef Fite, senior vice president and CIO of Family Christian Stores, his goal for the pilot was to monitor how PPOS performed and how store associates handled the new software along with a new Wide Area Network and in-house credit card authorization without disrupting business during their busiest time of the year. The JDA and Family Christian Stores team were able to get the pilot running and sustained with less support than originally planned and were rewarded by realizing immediate benefits. Explained Fite, "Our store managers trained seasonal associates in less time -- sometimes only 20-30 minutes -- on the new software. Since PPOS provides better visibility to customer information at the register along with an intuitive user interface, our pilot stores were able to speed up transactions even while dealing with the spike in processing sales, returns, promotional offers and coupons."
JDA and Family Christian Prove Broad Range of Functionality
The fact that Family Christian Stores is not a typical cash-and-carry retailer made them the perfect partner for JDA`s first implementation of PPOS.
"Family Christian Stores is a highly promotional retailer with diverse operations and a great deal of customer interaction, special order management and complex promotions. Their environment enabled us to exercise and prove a broad range of PPOS` functionality," explained Scott Hines, JDA`s chief technology officer and senior vice president. "Family Christian Stores is an outstanding partner that worked with us to overcome the typical bumps that occur with any beta implementation. The team shared our passion for extensive QA testing and had an inspiring `can-do` attitude that you don`t usually see in early adopters."
That upbeat attitude also carried over to store operations. While some pilots can fuel apprehension throughout a chain, that certainly was not the case at Family Christian Stores.
"Our Chicago stores are thrilled, and the managers are talking positively about it. As a result, other store managers are calling our help desk and asking when they are going to get the new system installed. That buzz is exactly what you want to accomplish in the first phase of an implementation," added Fite.
Investing in Next Generation Technology to Support Growth Plans A JDA client since 1994, Family Christian Stores relied on the original Distributed Store System software integrated with Merchandise Management System (MMS(R)) for more than a decade during which the retailer`s revenues and store count tripled. With President and CEO Dave Browne joining Family Christian Stores about one year ago and driving strategic changes, Fite had the backing to conduct a significant IT overhaul. He conducted a software evaluation and selection process that included reviewing third-party packages before again settling on JDA.
"Our decision to move to JDA`s next generation store systems architecture was largely influenced by the long-term value and return on investment that we expect to achieve, along with JDA`s willingness to work with us to meet our requirements in the software as well as during the implementation stage," stated Fite. "The other key rationale was to position Family Christian Stores for future growth with a flexible platform that enables us to more easily integrate with other applications and technology at the store level to improve our customers` experience as well as integrate seamlessly with MMS at corporate."
Added Fite, "In getting on board with PPOS, we knew that this new software was something that JDA was really going to focus on going forward and we wanted to be on the front end of its product lifecycle." Family Christian Stores is now in phase two of the project that entails prioritizing a set of "bells and whistles" enhancements that JDA is adding to PPOS to benefit Family Christian Stores as well as all future users. Once this new version of software is delivered in the second quarter of 2004, the retailer plans to roll it out to as many as 10-20 stores a week. In addition to implementing new software at the store level and investing in new hardware, the retailer also plans to upgrade to the newest version of MMS that will be released in 2004 and implement components of JDA Affinity(TM) for advanced customer relationship management.