Friday, 05 October 2018 10:30

Shoes on ground, ERP in cloud

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Footwear designer, wholesaler and retailer Munro Footwear Group's 2017 acquisition of Fusion Retail (formerly Colorado Group) means an extensive IT upgrade is on the cards.

Munro Footwear is perhaps an unfamiliar name for many of us, but its brands include Colorado, Diana Ferrari, Mathers, Midas, Mountfords and Williams.

Head of systems and business intelligence Rod Stanton told iTWire that the former Fusion units — which represent about two-thirds of the combined group — would be migrated to Infor M3 in the cloud over the next year. The other third already runs on M3.

M3 has been significantly developed since Lawson was acquired by Infor in 2011, Stanton said.

Munro (through its Styling Services unit) also uses Infor's CloudSuite Fashion, which provides a number of industry-specific (so called 'last mile') features such as support for a matrix of colours, sizes and other variations of a particular product. "They've done very well with it," said Stanton.

"We want to be in the cloud, we want to be on the latest platforms," and that's what Infor provides, he said.

"It's great for our business" as there is no need to worry about servers and other infrastructure, Stanton explained.

One aspect of the business that is not on the latest software is the warehouse operation. The company is still using Lawson Warehouse Mobility, but is considering an upgrade to Infor Factory Track after the forthcoming version is released.

Stanton said the features and functionality look great, describing it as "a massive improvement", but the stumbling block was that the scanning guns currently in use at the warehouse do not meet Factory Track's requirements. The likely approach would be buy higher-specification guns as additional or replacement units are required, paving the way to adopt Factory Track.

Another upgrade under consideration is the replacement of Infor BI with Infor Birst.

Birst is "unbelievable for dashboards", so Monro might initially adopt it for that purpose while retaining Infor BI for reporting because it suits the company's complex reporting requirement where the current version of Birst does not.

In particular, Birst currently does not work well with the company's existing data warehouse. While Birst "is definitely the way of the future," the pathway is not completely clear at this stage.

It's possible that Munro will increase its use of Infor software, for example for human capital management and payroll. "I would love to have a suite of systems that talk to each other" and provide single sign-on, said Stanton, as it is the interfaces between unrelated systems that are the major cause of problems.

While no one provider has the best products in all areas, Stanton said he would evaluate Infor as a potential supplier for other types of software when his company's existing systems need replacement.

The writer attended Inforum 2018 as a guest of Infor.

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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