SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2004 — Today at the Food Marketing Institute’s MARKETECHNICS 2004 show, Microsoft Corp. announced that Smart & Final Inc., operator of nonmembership warehouse stores for food, supplies and culinary equipment, is deploying the next phase of its real-time retailing solution designed to improve connectivity and integration of data between the stores, vendors, business customers and corporate headquarters. Smart & Final’s point-of-sale (POS) real-time data repository leverages Microsoft®
Windows Server (TM) 2003, Microsoft SQL Server (TM) , and industry-standard HP ProLiant server technology to improve scalability and fault tolerance.
The Microsoft SQL Server-based data repository, built around the Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) data model, supports online real-time transactional data from Smart & Final’s NCR Advanced Checkout Solution-based platform, which also leverages Microsoft technologies. Embracing Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative (SRI), a comprehensive solutions framework for unleashing the future of retail, this automated system has been deployed across Smart & Final’s 230 stores. The system will provide data and be part of the foundation for future information technology initiatives designed to seamlessly introduce new capabilities and services.
“In our competitive environment, we recognized that one of the keys to our success was to leverage transactional data in real time, to meet the needs of our customers — small businesses, organizations and value-oriented consumers — for sustainable repeat business,” said Bob Graham, vice president of stores technology at Smart & Final. “The POS data repository enables us to enhance service, improve processes, deliver value and, most of all, it make it easier for our customers and vendors to do business with us.”
“The Smart & Final POS real-time data repository plays a key role in helping us meet our objectives,” said Zeke Duge, chief information officer at Smart & Final. “It is a highly automated solution that delivers actionable data anytime and anywhere.”
The data repository and in-store platform are based on open standards and use the Microsoft .NET Framework — the programming model for building Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services and applications — which will allow the addition of appliances (such as handheld devices and kiosks) and other technologies.
“Smart & Final is a savvy company that really understands the importance of leveraging information technology to improve connectedness and become more agile to better service its customers,” said Brian Scott, general manager for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft. “By embracing the Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative, the company benefits today and is well-prepared to quickly leverage future technologies that can give it a competitive advantage.”
Microsoft Partner Support
The POS real-time data repository shows the tremendous synergy among Microsoft’s ecosystem of partners that have come together to make Smart & Final’s vision a reality. It resides on a fault-tolerant cluster consisting of industry-standard ProLiant servers and StorageWorks technology from HP. Microsoft and HP worked closely with Smart & Final to optimize the scalability of the repository.
Microsoft Technology Involvement
Smart & Final’s POS real-time data repository employs several Microsoft technologies. Microsoft Windows Server 2003 powers the in-store server platform, and Microsoft Windows®
XP Embedded software powers the in-store POS terminals. Microsoft Windows XP Embedded, a next-generation, retail-hardened operating system, allows retailers to deploy an open platform that supports a broad set of best-in-class industry applications. Windows Server 2003, a comprehensive, integrated and security-enhanced infrastructure, helps customers reduce costs and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of IT operations. Microsoft SQL Server, part of the Windows Server System (TM) , is used for the storage, retrieval and analysis of structured XML data.
About Smart & Final
Founded in 1871, Smart & Final Inc. (NYSE:SMF) operates 230 nonmembership warehouse stores in the Western United States and Northwest Mexico under the Smart & Final (184 stores) and United Grocers Cash & Carry (46 stores) brands. The stores carry a broad range of restaurant-quality food, food-service supplies and culinary equipment. The company has a Web presence and operates an e-commerce site at http://www.smartandfinal.com/ . Sales reported for year 2003 were $1.8 billion.
About the Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative
The Microsoft Smarter Retailing Initiative helps retailers win today by leveraging current investments, and win tomorrow by easing delivery of new retail experiences. Consisting of Smarter Shopping, Smarter Selling and Smarter Operations, the Smarter Retailing Initiative is designed to close the loop between the retailer’s strategy, the in-store execution and familiar technologies already in the consumer’s hands. More information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/smartretail/ .
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