Home Hardware is the largest independent home improvement retailer in Canada. They can boast over $5.4 billion in annual retail sales, and have over 1050 stores across the whole territory. Home Hardware is one of Canada’s most recognized brands and the country’s most popular home improvement retailer. They were also named one of Canada’s best managed companies 2 years in a row, in 2012 and 2013.
Interview with Keith Hunt, Director Retail Applications at Home Hardware
Home Hardware was founded with one mission – to help the independent retailers.
As a consequence, every store reflects the distinctive characteristics of both the owner and the community it serves. Yet, there are common elements shared among every store: commitment to service, to quality and to being among the best and most progressive retailers in Canada.
In this sense, Home Hardware is more than just a hardware store. It is the largest network of lumber and building material retailers in the country.
To ensure that they maintain their industry-leading edge, Home Hardware has over 3-million square feet of distribution space and best-in-class solutions for logistics management. This enables the company to offer a highly sophisticated distribution network across Canada with reliable fill rates and a service level averaging over 95%.
Home Hardware provides a very robust and diverse combination of retail systems and services in order to help their stores improve productivity and profitability. In particular, the Retail Applications Team has to ensure they develop, test and deliver the best and most cost-effective software solutions, so that the stores’ owners and shareholders will want to implement them.
Home Hardware set itself apart from their competitors by developing an in-house retail solution (POS and inventory management system) that integrates with their retail systems and services. A complete and easily achieved integration has therefore always been one of the most important requirements.
Furthermore, the lumber industry adds a layer of complexity and requires specific system needs due to the following (among other things):
- Complex contractor sales and service
- Some store staff members are paid on commission based on their sales’ turnover
- Several rebate programs, as well as specific sales packages and rental programs, exist among the vendors
For these reasons, Home Hardware needed a simple-to-use retail system that could handle the complexities of multiple programs and of large multi-million dollar operations. At the same time, the system would also need to adapt to the needs of a smaller store. Moreover, the system would need to operates in multiple languages, as the company trades in English and French.
- Scalability, manageability, support, security, user profiles, backups
- Centralized ordering/invoicing through head office for all distribution centers, order management, promotions, sale prices, multiple price zones
- The platform had to interface with existing systems
- Flexibility in handling different services at the same time, for example: key cutting, screen repair, propane sales, installed sales, housing packages, deliveries, furniture, kitchens, discounts, rebates, commissions.
- Dealers have varying budgets, all need affordable retail solutions
Home Hardware was therefore looking for a simple-to-use solution that could meet all the needs of a very complex retail model.
Why LS Nav?
The project’s focus came down to these key functionalities:
Keith Hunt, Director of Retail Applications at Home Hardware, stated: “We knew we couldn’t buy an out-of-the-box solution that would satisfy all of our needs. There would be a gap, no matter what solution we bought or built. But we needed a business management solution that was customizable, scalable, and maintainable, and we weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel.”
Home Hardware therefore chose LS Nav, a complete solution with integrated financials functionality and sales and order management. Mr. Hunt cited the following reasons as being determining for the decision:
- LS Retail’s are tried and tested world-leading software solutions
- LS Nav allowed them to use base POS functionality with configurations for layouts and access to multiple features
- LS Nav allowed them to use base EFT for card payment processing, with customizations for private label credit and gift cards and loyalty program
- They could also use LS Special Orders with customizations
Another big factor in choosing LS Nav was the possible future opportunities, which include but are not limited to:
- Extra modules and features, including mobile POS, payroll, loyalty, gas stations, coffee shops, courier depots, maybe a rentals program
- Continuous growth potential: Home Hardware can change and grow along with the dealers and continue to enhance the product on the same platform
- Integration with MS Office