The Heart of Technology

Family Dollar integrates its systems to fuel an aggressive growth plan.

Family Dollar Stores, one of the fastest growing discount store chains in the U.S., must make the most of its IT systems. The firm, which has expanded from 3,000 stores in 2000 to more than 6,000 stores in 2006, needed an enterprise solution to integrate its batch scheduling environments for its supply chain. Enter AppWorx, a software firm and Oracle partner. Installing the AppWorx software as a centralized and automated method of prioritizing, controlling, and managing the batch processing workload has provided Dollar Stores with a beneficial centralized scheduling and monitoring system.

 

Read how prioritizing and automating the scheduling has maximized system efficiencies on numerous fronts. The firm's Oracle Retail Merchandising System manages invoice matching and integrates invoices into Oracle Accounts Payable. AppWorx maximizes the interfaces between the two systems and enables data to pass back and forth. As a result, integration is automated, and information does not have to be maintained in two sets of systems. An added benefit is that the new software readily scales to accommodate new systems that are added as Family Dollar continues to expand.

Retailers looking at the possibilities inherent in their information systems must feel a lot like the gold rush miners: They know there's gold there, if only they could shovel it out. The challenges for retail companies are multifaceted. They want to integrate previously unconnected silos of information to foster a free flow of integrated business information, and they want to access that information faster and more reliably.

This is the challenge that faced Family Dollar Stores, one of the fastest-growing discount store chains in the United States. The nation's second-largest dollar store chain, Family Dollar operates in a 44-state area ranging as far northwest as Idaho, northeast to Maine, southeast to Florida, and southwest to Arizona. The Matthews, North Carolina-based retailer's target customer is the low- to middle-income family, and as such, its prices must be low (most items are under US$10), and its margins are narrow. This business model means that the IT systems that support its operations are critical—there is no fat to be cut, and information technology must help the US$5.8 billion company run exceedingly lean.

One of the company's big IT challenges was to find a way to integrate the information flow within the company and speed up response time by automating as many business processes as possible. Moreover, the company needed to do so during a time of rapid growth. Since 2000, Family Dollar has more than doubled in size, from more than 3,000 stores and 4 distribution centers to more than 6,000 stores and 9 distribution centers.

 

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