Family Dollar (my wife loves to shop there) has 7,000 stores across the country and sells 5,000 items. To manage all of this and its employees (and more) requires one of the best and most integrated systems that money can buy.
There’s lessons for small businesses, in this “big biz” example.
- Upgrade as your company grows
- Use technology to help solid business processes
- Don’t have silos of information
- Let data drive smart business decisions
Here’s more from Microsoft’ press release:
It’s the wealth of data generated by these cash registers, says Jewett, that provides tremendous value. Family Dollar today is a chain of more than 7,100 stores spanning 45 states and four time zones. Every store has two or three cash registers, a number that is rapidly approaching 16,000 total. The stores see 16 million customers per week with average transactions of about $10 — adding up to $8.5 billion in annual gross revenue.
That massive amount of transaction data is all hooked into the company’s headquarters, where it is used extensively to run the business on a national scale.
“We live and breathe by that data,” Jewett says. “Every transaction is recorded by the register, and we transfer that information up to our supply chain and financial management systems several times a day.”
Family Dollar pulls inventory data from the stores and processes it using a unique forecasting replenishment algorithm — for every SKU, for every store, every day.
“So we’ve got 5,000 basic items, 7,000 stores and a demand forecast for every single one of those basic items is uniquely calculated every day to determine what to replenish,” Jewett says.