NEW YORK -- When Jo-Ann Stores implemented DOS for its point-of-sale (POS) software 15 years ago, that familiar blinking green screen was state of the art.
Times have changed. As part of a three- to five-year program that encompasses a variety of software projects and runs in the tens of millions of dollars, Hudson, Ohio-based Jo-Ann Stores will replace its DOS-based POS system with SAP Transactionware General Merchandise, formerly
For the last 10 to 15 years, Jo-Ann Stores focused on opening new stores and now has more than 800 locations and almost $2 billion in sales. But with this focus on growth, the company didn't devote as much attention to its technical infrastructure, according to Kevin Stack, vice president and CIO.
Recently, the company has scaled back store openings and committed to investing in its technology framework to re-stabilize the business, Stack said.
When it came to picking POS software, Jo-Ann considered nine of the top vendors, including Cleveland, Ohio-based Datavantage Corp. and GlobalSTORE from Tokyo-based Fujitsu, Stack said. Ultimately, the decision came down to Jo-Ann's relationship with SAP, which started back in 1999.
No single product could provide everything Jo-Ann needed out-of-the-box, according to Stack, so the company's relationship with SAP was a deciding factor.
"Our partnership with SAP is more important to us going forward than the depth of any one functionality," he said.
The ability to integrate with Jo-Ann's existing installation was also a big checkmark in SAP's favor.
"Is Jo-Ann Stores sure that SAP has the best products in every case? No," Stack said. "But are we sure that the products SAP has will work for our business? Absolutely."
What Jo-Ann is hoping to accomplish with its new POS software is, as Stack simply says, "to get into the 21st century."
Areas in need of improvement include promotions and regulating sales associates.
For example, Jo-Ann does not currently have any technology in its stores to easily execute a "buy one, get one free" promotion. The new POS system will allow these types of promotions to be run more efficiently.
Jo-Ann also lacks a way to regulate its coupons effectively. For example, if a coupon is targeted for the crafts department of a store, an associate can now apply it to the fabric department. With the new POS system, Jo-Ann will be able to electronically limit where coupons can be redeemed and manage the behavior of store associates.
Jo-Ann Stores will roll out SAP's POS system to 20 of its stores in 2007, with plans to have all stores updated by the end of 2009.