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Retail CIO improves project management to push POS

Clint Boulton | Jan. 16, 2017
Red Wing Shoes overcame several legacy technology and business process hurdles to modernize its antiquated point-of-sale software.

“Replenishment orders weren't flowing correctly and tax tables weren't updating correctly. We did not have a path for data governance, data quality or data convergence,” Kermisch says. “Every single store had a different set of data and a different level of quality that we had to muscle through. So item information, pricing information and account information were three big challenges for us."

Red Wing sought support for Oracle Retail Xstore Point of Service. But Kermisch soon learned that Micros, which had at the time was working through a number of new customer acquisitions, would not assign its Ohio-based software engineers to travel to Minneapolis to work with Red Wing engineers. They also wouldn’t work weekends. Kermisch says.

Salvation lies in professional support

After considerable due diligence, Kermisch selected BTM Global, which specializes in implementing Oracle retail software, for professional support. BTM Global embraced agile development methods, quickly capturing requirements and conducting four-week sprints before passing the software on to Red Wing for testing and verification. It was exactly what Kermisch needed to complete the project.

Red Wing extended its pilot project through the fall of 2015, cleaning up defects and adding enhancements before launching into production January 2016. "It went well but it was bumpy," Kermisch says.

Integrating customized features available in the legacy POS and other core business applications into Xstore posed another challenge. Red Wing features an industrial sales model in which it contracts with manufacturing customers, which require employees to wear shoes that meet certain quality and safety standards. Employers often subsidize the cost of the shoes -- typically 50 percent -- via paper vouchers employees redeem in Red Wing stores.

Red Wing then processes the voucher and sends the industrial client an invoice for the remaining amount. This "split tender" model created accounting challenges, Kermisch says, adding that he plans to automate this process by issuing corporate employees digital coupons this year.

Moreover, out of Red Wing's 500 retail outlets, roughly 330 are independent dealers, some of whom have chosen to integrate time and attendance, accounts payable and receivable and invoice processing in their POS system, a departure from the usual practice of bolting on apps to provide the functionality. "They had to do quite a lot of modification of the core data structure and core code to address those additional requirements," Kermisch says.

Red Wing completed the project in November 2016. "Without BTM Global, I'm not sure we would have gotten through our implementation," Kermisch says.


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