Kathmandu scales the heights with Pronto

Wednesday, 10 March, 2010

Kathmandu is an iconic outdoor equipment and clothing retailer that has been helping travellers reach the summit of their adventures for more than 20 years. The brand is synonymous with quality, functional design and rugged high performance.

It was these characteristics that Kathmandu also sought in a new enterprise management system to support its aggressive retail expansion in late 2006 to increase its retail network from 50 stores to 80 throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK within three years.

Bryan Moore, General Manager of Information Technology at Kathmandu, explained: “Basically, we had outgrown our current system. It lacked the functionality to help us further grow the business. There were shortfalls in our point-of-sale system and promotion management and, combined with an overall lack of integration, it was time to consider a more scaleable, robust solution.

Moore added that the disbursed operating system meant transaction processing occurred at the point of sale, which made distributing system changes problematic. They were also experiencing data integrity and stability issues.

“We needed to get cleverer about the way we promote our products, more targeted in the way we communicate with customers and have the flexibility to change direction to meet market needs,” Moore said.

“Ultimately, we wanted to be able to provide the right price to the right customer at the right time.”

Under Moore’s direction, Kathmandu conducted an extensive review of its operations, developing a list of 20 key business requirements the new solution would need to support. According to Moore, the key criteria included scalability, functionality, cultural fit and industry experience.

“Our absolute mandatories were scalability and stability in terms of product and company. We needed to be confident the product could scale up to our growth plans and continue to support us,” he said.

During the tender process, Moore took a business trip to the UK and visited a major retailer that was using Pronto-Xi for its point-of-sale system. He was impressed.

“I saw a product that could support a substantial retail business with a similar model to ours in terms of store numbers and high volumes. And it was well supported, which, all of this combined, carried quite a bit of weight,” Moore said.

The strong customer reference put Pronto Software at the top of the preferred vendor list, and in March 2007, Kathmandu selected Pronto-Xi to overhaul its point-of-sale and some back-office operations. The retailer implemented Pronto-Xi’s point-of-sale, promotion management and inventory management capabilities, and some financial features such as accounts receivable.

Kathmandu also deployed Pronto’s on-demand/SAAS model, Pronto Hosted Services. Moore believes the company has saved more than $250,000 not having to ‘up spec’ and house the server internally - not including additional costs to attract and train suitably qualified support staff.

“It made sense to leave it to the experts,” said Moore. “It meant we could keep our costs down, ensure our environment was stable with less risk, and not worry about downtime or maintenance issues.”

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