SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2004 — Today at the Food Marketing Institute’s MARKETECHNICS 2004 show, Microsoft Corp announced that its Smarter Retailing Initiative, a comprehensive solutions framework for enabling the next generation of retail innovation, is being embraced by leading companies in the food retailing and supermarket industries. Microsoft also announced that both A & P and Smart & Final have deployed Microsoft-based, real-time retailing solutions to improve the flow of information and respond more quickly to changing business conditions.
The Smarter Retailing Initiative was launched in January 2004 with the support of more than 20 companies committed to delivering solutions and services that align with the Smarter Retailing vision and using the Microsoft®
.NET Framework, the programming model for building XML Web services and applications.
The momentum generated by the launch is now extending into the supermarket, convenience store and drug industries. AccessVia, Eatec Corp., OPENFIELD Solutions, Retalix Ltd., Sweda Corp. and Wincor Nixdorf Inc. have joined Accenture, Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc., HP, JDA Software Group Inc., Manhattan Associates Inc., NCR Corp. and Trax Retail Solutions Inc. in supplying solutions that enable retailers to take full advantage of their legacy investments, while reducing the challenges and risks associated with deploying and integrating future technologies to adapt to changes in the market. A & P and Smart & Final are deploying Microsoft technology-based solutions that address real-time retailing.
“Grocers, wholesalers and others in the food industry are facing some tough challenges right now: the economy, competition from a multitude of channels, lowered profits due to shrink, and the looming need to upgrade dated, proprietary systems,” said Brian Scott, general manager for the Retail & Hospitality Industry Solutions Group at Microsoft. “It is very exciting to see how our vision for Smarter Retailing is manifesting itself with key retailers, such as A & P and Smart & Final, and in solutions being delivered by our strong ecosystem of retail industry partners.”
A & P Deploys GAPcom Store Portal
A & P, one of the nation’s first supermarket chains and among the largest in North America, has rolled out the next phase of its communications and collaboration system based on Microsoft technology. Initially launched in 2002, the GAPcom Store Portal provides A & P with the ability to electronically publish and instantly update merchandising bulletins, pricing, store signage, operations manuals, and other store updates and applications that previously were disseminated on paper. GAPcom also opens the path for two-way communications between headquarters and the stores, enabling faster responsiveness to customer demands and other business opportunities. GAPcom is based on Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint (TM) Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Active Directory®
Smart & Final Deploys Point-of-Sale (POS) Data Repository
Smart & Final, an operator of nonmembership warehouse stores for food, supplies and culinary equipment, is deploying the next phase of its point-of-sale (POS) data repository. This real-time retailing solution is highly automated and delivers data anytime, anywhere. It was designed to improve processes, deliver value and, most of all, make it easier for customers and vendors to do business with Smart & Final. The POS data repository is based on Microsoft Windows Server (TM) 2003, Microsoft SQL Server (TM) and Microsoft Windows®
Industry Standards Are a Priority
Based on open industry standards such as Web services and Extensible Markup Language (XML), and retail-specific standards such as the Association of Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) IX Retail, OPOS, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), UCCnet and Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing solutions framework, these deployments will serve as the foundation for information technology projects in the future. Microsoft also recently ramped up its commitment to food retailers by becoming a member of CIES, The Food Business Forum, the independent global food business network that is addressing the highly complex and sensitive area of traceability.
Addressing the Looming Need to Upgrade
One of the challenges facing food retailers is that their current, proprietary systems are nearing the end of their life.
“The availability of newer technologies, such as RFID, and the proliferation of wireless handheld devices are something retailers should seriously consider when mapping out their strategy for upgrading and replacing their current POS systems,”
said Jeff Roster, principal analyst for Global Industries — Retail at Gartner Inc.
“Research indicates that over the next two to three years, many of the currently installed POS systems will be nearing their end of life, so now is the time to be thinking about expanding the vision of the stores IT infrastructure in order to be in a position to take advantage of these technologies.”
Rather than urging users to rip and replace, Microsoft and its partners are developing a variety of solutions to ease the migration to upgraded systems. For example, HP has expanded its portfolio of strategic offerings for the retail industry with the introduction of DeviceConnect-485, a comprehensive, new PCI card that enables retailers with legacy POS hardware (e.g., IBM 4683, 4684, 4693, 4694) to migrate to open, industry-standard POS systems based on HP’s rp5000 POS platform and Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative. The DeviceConnect-485 allows retailers to protect existing investments and devices running on legacy IBM systems, including scanners, receipt printers, scales, cash drawers and 2×20 displays, and connect them directly to the HP rp5000 open-standards platform.
Wincor Nixdorf is launching Out of the Blue, an initiative designed to educate retailers and offer solutions and services for the implementation of 4690 migration strategies. Out of the Blue enables retailers to take advantage of low-cost hardware and leverage the enterprise capabilities of modern operating platforms. Wincor’s Retail Migration Platform includes a middleware layer that allows retailers to run 4690 applications on Windows XP Embedded without modifying the underlying source code. Existing applications can be extended with new capabilities including graphical user interfaces, Web technologies for browser support or e-mail, and a touch screen user interface.
MATRA Systems Inc. has middleware software solutions that enable retailers to take advantage of the power of modern technology without requiring that they discard their legacy systems. Its FREEDOM-Server, which is being used in Smart & Final’s POS real-time data repository, is a scalable, high-function corporate database as well as an in-store controller software solution that can drive legacy POS applications such as IBM SA or GSA running on 46×0 registers as well as open POS solutions such as NCR’s Advanced Checkout Solution running on Microsoft-based computing platforms. FREEDOM-Server runs on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server and is built on the ARTS data model.
Microsoft Partner Support for Smarter Retailing Increases
Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative continues to gain support and is making a strong showing in the food retailing industry:
AccessVia. AccessVia is the leading provider of automated sign printing solutions and electronic display technologies for retailers. It delivers technologies that enable automated consumer messaging, allowing retailers to reach buyers wherever they are. Web dSignShop 4.0, being announced at MARKETECHNICS, allows retailers to publish price changes quickly in response to market conditions, resulting in improved margins.
Eatec. Eatec offers supermarkets a leading enterprise back-office software solution for foodservice management with EatecNetX. EatecNetX is based on Microsoft SQL Server; its robust features include purchasing, receiving, inventory management, requisitions, transfers, forecasting, recipes, menu engineering and production management. EatecNetX has an optional module for catering and holiday orders that enables centralized acceptance of orders via Web or phone, with automatic distribution to the stores for planning and fulfillment.
Fujitsu Transaction Solutions Inc. Fujitsu has designated Sweda Corp.’s Safari Renaissance 3.0 retail POS software “RetailReady.” The designation indicates that a software vendor’s application fully integrates with Fujitsu’s TeamPoS 2000 POS terminals. GlobalSTORE POS software, SmartPoS peripherals and the new Team PoS 2000 M terminal support an open Windows environment and are designed to reduce retailers’ costs and improve manageability over the life cycle of technology assets.
HP. Along with the POS migration device for retailers with legacy IBM peripherals mentioned above, HP also has a new, comprehensive POS migration service for the retail industry. The service, based on Microsoft .NET and Windows XP technologies, enables retailers to move to cost-effective POS platforms more rapidly, saving them time and money, and providing a more flexible, scalable and adaptable IT retail environment.
JDA Software Group. With integrated merchandising, planning and replenishment solutions, the JDA Portfolio is the industry’s first integrated suite to manage and optimize demand chain processes. The Portfolio suite can help grocers and their trading partners gain better control of inventory investments while ensuring availability of the freshest, highest-quality and most desired products on a localized basis. Portfolio’s key grocery features include Recipe Management, Meat Cut Test and Transformation Management, Random Weight, Pricing by the Pound, Kilogram and Each, Direct Store Delivery, Supply Chain Synchronization, Category and Space Management and Forecasting, and Replenishment at Stores and Distribution Centers.
Manhattan Associates. Warehouse Management for Microsoft-based RFID solutions enable the food industry to reduce warehouse and logistics costs, increase supply chain execution (SCE) efficiency, and leverage state-of-the-art technologies such as RFID.
NCR. NCR is introducing a package of new features available with its Advanced Checkout Solution (ACS) software suite, offering retailers additional opportunities to drive down POS acquisition and support costs while enhancing operational efficiency. Designed for national and regional chains with high-volume checkout operations, ACS is a ready-to-install, open system that also is highly customizable. This high-performance software suite utilizes numerous Microsoft technologies, including Visual Studio®
.NET, Windows XP Embedded, Windows Server 2003, Windows CE .NET 4.2, Windows Mobile (TM) software for Pocket PCs and SQL Server.
OPENFIELD Solutions. The retail industry’s premier independent developer and integrator of retail technology, including software, systems and services throughout North America, OPENFIELD offers open architecture solutions that enable powerful new technology to be utilized in retail environments. The company’s significant cross-platform capability and considerable POS application experience allow it to address any in-store systems requirement, regardless of project size or scope.
Retalix. With North American headquarters in Dallas, Retalix is an independent provider of integrated enterprisewide software solutions for the global retail food industry, installed in more than 25,000 sites in 44 countries. The Retalix solutions provide food retailers with a comprehensive suite to manage their entire operation, integrating enterprise headquarters with retail stores and warehouses, as well as enabling collaboration with suppliers. The Retalix solutions also enable food retailers and suppliers to increase their operating efficiencies, reduce infrastructure costs and stimulate consumer demand.
Sweda Corp. Sweda offers best-of-breed retail solutions that capitalize on the integration and performance advantages of standards-compliant retail technologies. Sweda provides open architecture point-of-sale systems, consulting, training and support services to leading supermarket and restaurant chains worldwide. Safari Renaissance, a suite of Web-based supermarket applications enabling rapid customization at low cost, is a two-time winner of the Microsoft Retail Application Developer Award for retail point-of-sale software. SwedaMedia is a Web-based, digital marketing product for delivery of dynamic in-store marketing content. Sweda is a well-known brand with an installed base of more than 3,000 customer sites throughout the United States, Canada and Asia.
Trax Retail Solutions. Trax is focused on delivering loss-prevention, store operations control and profit-optimization solutions for the retail industry.
ShrinkTrax, the anchor solution in the Trax SmartStore loss-prevention suite, is the only “preactive” loss-prevention solution that is guaranteed to prevent cashier and vendor-related shrinkage before it happens.
SmartStore StoreWalk is designed to add process, discipline, consistency and excellence to store inspections by automating, grading, reporting and analyzing the vast array of inspections and checklists required of store managers, district managers, and loss-prevention and other specialists.
SmartStore SweepTrax provides a structured, simple set of tools to automate and document any and all store-safety inspection activities. As an employee walks from location to location, the software observes and monitors the condition of floors. Results of the store inspection are then uploaded to corporate risk management for recordkeeping, and special alerts are automatically sent to managers at all levels to warn them of potentially unsafe conditions.
Wincor Nixdorf. Worldwide, Wincor Nixdorf is one of the fastest-growing providers of IT products and solutions for the retail and banking industries. Wincor Nixdorf’s offerings include hardware, application software, professional services and a complete range of multivendor service programs including on-site support, depot service, advanced exchange and performance-guaranteed supplies procurement. Wincor Nixdorf is the world’s third-largest provider of POS systems and automated teller machines, and the No. 1 provider of POS solutions for the food industry in Europe. Of the top 10 European food retailers, nine rely on Wincor Nixdorf solutions, including Carrefour, Metro AG, Rewe, Tesco plc, Intermarche, Edeka, Aldi, Auchan and Ahold.
More details on the partners in the Microsoft Smarter Retailing ecosystem can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/smartretail/ .
Food Retailers to See Smarter Retailing on Display
During FMI MARKETECHNICS 2004, being held Feb. 29 through March 1 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Microsoft technologies will be on display that cover the three key areas of Microsoft’s Smarter Retailing Initiative: Smarter Shopping, Smarter Selling and Smarter Operations:
Accenture will be showing its Store Manager Workbench, which gives managers instant access to information on inventory, employee schedules and sales through a Tablet PC or personal digital assistant that takes advantage of the Microsoft Office System and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
Microsoft’s own Innovations Lab will be demonstrating how a Smartphone can be used in a grocery store, from the shopper’s point of view and from the store’s perspective, by offering the means to do some one-on-one marketing only found in e-commerce channels today.
Trax Retail Solutions has two applications, SmartStore StoreWalk and SmartStore SweepTrax, that run on Tablet PC or Pocket PC platforms. Microsoft Windows XP Embedded, software that powers in-store POS terminals, will be displayed as part of the solutions being showcased by Fujitsu, NCR, Retalix and Wincor Nixdorf. Microsoft Windows XP Embedded is a next-generation, retail-hardened operating system that allows retailers to deploy an open platform which supports a broad set of best-in-class industry applications.
About Microsoft’s 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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