Akateeminen Kirjakauppa – Akademiska Bokhandeln
Founded in Helsinki in 1893, the Academic Bookstore chain now counts six bookstores across Finland and is well known for its active role in the Finnish cultural scene and its good customer service. In October 2015, the Bonnier Books Group acquired the chain from Stockmann, who had owned it since 1930. All of the stores are still located nearby or inside Stockmann department stores.
Searching for a user-friendly, reliable system
When the Bonnier Books Group acquired The Academic Bookstore in October 2015, they required a switch to a modern ERP, back office and POS system. For the group it was important to have a user-friendly system, with efficient and reliable data exchange functionality, so that the stores would always have up-to-date data in the POS, from item lists to prices and offers. The LS Retail software solution, based on Microsoft Dynamics, was a natural choice for the group: the Swedish bookstore chain Pocket Shop, also owned by the Bonnier Books Group, had been using the solution since the year 2000. On the one hand, the Group believed it would provide strategic benefits over time to run the same solution across multiple companies within the business group. On the other hand, the pre-existing LS Retail software competence within the business group would bring cross-company benefits. From a business point of view, LS Retail software offered needed functionalities as regards sales, store management and flexibility to integrations. The company was also very interested in the possibility to use mobile POS that LS Retail software offered.
A trusted partner
The implementation was managed by Bedege, a local LS Retail partner. Bedege provided the company not only with a functioning ERP and POS system, but also with servers placed in Stockholm, to manage communications between the head office and the stores in Finland. Bedege also offered great application support and solutions in case of hardware failure, designed to secure ability to sell in the stores at all times. Data replication is handled by standard functionality provided by the LS Retail Data Director. All POS run on local databases, with one central database with back office and finance functionality held centrally in Sweden. The POS are also equipped with the BPTI EFT-solution from Bedege, a credit card integration. For stock control the Academic Bookstore requested support for handheld devices, which was fulfilled by the InStore functionality of LS Retail software. For sales analysis purposes, the company needed transparency and access to all POS transactions, along with tools for advanced analysis. For these aims, the team decided to build a BI solution in SQL server.
A two-phase implementation
The Group decided to use the LS Retail software solution in late June 2015, before the acquisition was even completed and approved by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority. The go-live for all POS in all six stores was set for October 1st. The short time frame was a great challenge for the implementation team. The project was split into two phases. Phase one, to be completed by go-live date, focused on giving the stores basic, necessary functionalities to run daily. This included servers, communication and data replication, plus basic retail and ERP functionality. The store staff was also given basic training on the solution just before go-live. On the same day as the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority approved the Bonnier Books acquisition of the Academic Bookstore, October 1st, the solution went live in all stores and all POS. Phase two took place after go-live, and covered:
- Integration of the POS to the Stockmann electronic gift card solution. This was needed since the stores would still be running inside the Stockmann department stores, despite the change of ownership.
- Integration to the replenishment and demand-planning system Relex.
- EDI, sending purchase orders and receiving shipment notifications.
- BI solution built-in SQL server.
Thanks to LS Retail software, the Academic Bookstore now has effective tools to analyze its sales and receipts. With total access to all POS transaction details, the company is now able to take effective actions to increase sales and profitability. The flexible user interface at the POS helps staff easily serve customers and handle sales in the store. The fully integrated POS solution reduces time-consuming manual work, as data exchange occurs automatically to and from POS. On top of the support from LS Retail software, a customized BI solution gives the Academic Bookstore improved reporting possibilities. The Bookstore will soon implement EDI, to obtain prompt and exact purchase orders to the main vendors, and the purchase and demand planning system Relex, to guarantee stable and reliable replenishment procedures.