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J. Baker, Inc., a shoe retailer servicing shoe departments at over 1,100 discount retail stores, including approximately 140 of its own stores, had experienced a period of rapid growth. Aggressive expansion plans coupled with exceptional performance had forced them to explore the development of an information plan that would facilitate theft high-powered business strategies. No less than complete replacement of all theft existing system was called for, implemented quickly in order to achieve rapid payback.
Many companies, once they have decided to take the plunge into restructuring theft information Systems, do it timidlyrebuild a piece here, replace a modue their--hoping to gently ease out of their old system and into a new one. J. Baker saw things in a different light. Deciding that their existing systems would not ultimately provide the benefits that the company needed to move them into the twenty-first century, they agreed that theft best strategy would be to replace the entire system, in a one time conversion.
Baker, Inc. is a diversified retailer of footware and specialty clothing, headquared in Hyde Park and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. For the year ended February 1, 1992, sales were $494 million, with an employee base exceeding 6,000 people. The company specializes in the massive middle-and lower-end footware market, accounting for one out of every twenty- five pairs of shoes sold in America this year. Operations consist of both a network of leasing arrangements with department stores, and their own company-owned retailing chains.
The company is the largest in dependent operator of licensed shoe departments in the United States, currently leasing departments in more than 1,000 discount departments stores, such as Ames Department Stores, Zayre Stores and Rose Stores. In a typical leasing arrangement, the shoes and the shoe department staff belong to J.Baker, which pays the department store a percentage of sales as a rental fee. The company has recently expanded their merchandinsing expertise into the specialty clothing market. Company owned store chains include 141 Parade of Shoes retail stores, 180 Casual Male Big and Tall stores, acquired in February, 1991, and 29 Wearguard retail stores, acquired in September,1991.
Need For New Technology
J. Baker's information system had been running on a Bull platform. Over its lifetime, system modifications had been pieced and patched together, producing an operation that is inflexible. Lack of flexibility was beginning to cause great concern to the shoe company.
Because an enormous share of the company's business comes from leased shoe sale operations, the information systems must be compatible with the point of sale devices that each host store offers. Given recent technology advancements and the enormous choice each host store has in these systems, and advanced, flexible master information system was imperative.
When J.Baker wins the leasing business of a new chain, business grows in huge surges. A system is needed that can accommodate this sudden burst of additional sales, inventory and logistics …