i2s breed of MDM is geared to easy installation, too. Some customers, including Payless, have been able to roll out Six Two without outside consulting help, except initial design planning from i2, said Gurdip Singh, i2s client manager of Consumer Goods & Retail, in another interview at the NRF show. But i2 does provide assistance as needed, according to Singh. The vendor also works closely with some outside systems integrators, particularly India-based Tata Consultancy and longtime partner IBM."Companies have a lot of applications for merchandising, order replenishment, inventory, etc.," Chatterjee said. "We can sit on top of multiple applications. In some industries, such as fashion and consumer goods, product lifecycles are very short. You can lose a lot of sales if you dont have the ability to look at [all the information you need] in one place. "We can show you exactly where your inventory is at any time. If a truck doesnt arrive on time, you will know, because we do alerting. If your plan was to sell 500 [units] of an SKU and you only sold 300, you can find out why. Were the stores closed [too early]? Was the price too high? We can also do some context analysis. For example, if a truck being late doesnt actually impact [sales], then its probably not worth [setting it as] an alert," he said. For the future, i2 is looking at solving some other customer problems with its software, according to Chatterjee. "People are having trouble forecasting on the demand side. They need to look at their plans to see what might be going wrong, on a daily basis, not just weekly or monthly," he said. "Another problem is how to make the inventory turn. Most retailers live and die by how fast they can turn inventory," he said. "But if you know whats selling and what isnt selling, you can adjust what you buy. Wed like to be able to take POS [point of sale] data from multiple retailers to help people decide what to buyhow the preferences of a particular demographic should be accommodated, for example." i2 is planning offerings for both faster inventory turns and more accurate demand management, according to Chatterjee. These will become part of the companys overall product framework, he told eWEEK.com. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news and analysis of enterprise supply chains.
Other customers, including Best Buy, are using new workflows in MDM for supply chain visibility.