Change Is Good
Implementing new technology anywhere in operations can be daunting to employees, but undergoing a complete digital transformation presents a much larger challenge.
“The biggest thing from my point of view,” notes Lord, “was we took on a lot as a company all at the same time.”
Burton planned its digital transformation in three buckets: data modernization; a streamline of all Burton’s consumer-facing applications; and a new ERP. “We essentially signed up for all that work to begin in that January timeframe,” says Lord. “It’s a lot of change.”
The store teams dealt with some of the biggest change, moving from primarily fixed desktop point of sale to having a more mobile iPhone in front of them, McAllister tells RIS (iPhones are owned by Burton and provided to store employees).
“One of the kudos to NewStore is that we were able to roll out [the solutions] without ever really traveling to a store,” he says. “So that kind of really advocates for the simplicity behind NewStore and the ability for our store guides to really kind of adapt. It becomes very familiar for our guides when they’re moving about on an iPhone; it was easy for them to pick up with very limited training.”
Of course, one of the challenges at the store level was transitioning to all new hardware. The iPhones, printers, and how it all connects via WiFi were a bit to overcome in the beginning.
It’s a totally new process, as store employees were used to just having a desktop computer that’s plugged in, McAllister explains. Now there’s a mobile payment device, NewStore app on the iPhone, and printers that are connected by Bluetooth.
“Connectivity was definitely a learning curve,” notes McAllister.
Advantages of Universal Inventory Data
One of Burton’s goals across its digital transformation was to improve its data quality, including inventory information. With NewStore, Burton benefits from having an omnichannel solution with native store inventory management — a typically disparate system.
Before, Burton had servers that connected to its ERP and its POS was siloed in terms of inventory. In its original POS, one could only see store inventory or another store’s inventory. Now, Burton has a more holistic view of all stores’ inventory, as well as distribution center (DC) inventory.
“So now when things are coming down the line in terms of new technology, like endless aisle from our DC, we now have the ability to see that stock where before we didn’t,” explains McAllister. Burton is enjoying better inventory utilization across different locations. The retailer now can use NewStore’s routing program to reroute inventory to a store. “So that’s been big for us, to be able to fulfill a customer’s order where normally we would’ve had to say, ‘sorry, we’re out of stock on this item.’”
Another advantage — this platform component was purpose-built to be mobile-first, meaning employee workflows across inventory functions feel familiar to other iOS apps, making them easy to use. For store guides, having all point of sale, as well as e-commerce orders, in one system makes it easy to find a customer’s order no matter how they’ve shopped, notes McAllister. Now store guides can find orders and take action within NOM (NewStore Omnichannel Manager), leading to a streamlined customer experience.