REVIEWER: Bill Knight, president and owner, The Wine House.

BACKGROUND: The Wine House is the largest wine merchant in Southern California, with annual sales of approximately $20 million. We sell through the Internet and an 18,000-square-foot retail store in Los Angeles. We’ve been a wine and spirits retailer for more than 30 years, and we’ve been on the Internet for 10 years.

PLATFORM: Microsoft Windows.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Before we brought in SAS, we had no way of really tracking the age of our inventory, which is quite extensive. Wine is not as perishable as some items, but it is perishable, and with only a point-o- sale system we had no way of knowing how long merchandise had been sitting in our warehouse or on shelves. Our goal is to completely turn inventory at least seven times a year. While we knew that was happening on an overall basis, we also knew there was a chunk of inventory growing too old. When we installed SAS, what we found was quite surprising.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SAS Enterprise BI Server for Midsize Business provides us with a real-time view into our inventory of more than 7,000 domestic and imported labels. Our POS system updates the data continuously. Management and our wholesale buyers can go into the SAS system and view stock by numerous criteria, including department, supplier, price point or age.

STRENGTHS: The biggest benefit of SAS has been the ability to drill down into the specifics of our inventory. We can start out by checking how a certain department is doing and then delve into certain suppliers, and even individual products, to see what’s moving and what isn’t. This is a tremendous benefit for a retailer, especially in this economy, to know exactly what’s going on in his business in a timely way with as much detail as needed. Our SAS system can help us identify slow-moving items that we need to promote and move out.

WEAKNESSES: We’re really eager to see as much data as possible, and sometimes we have trouble formatting what we want to include in a single report and have it all fit on one screen or an 8.5x11 page and still be legible.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We knew we needed an intelligent system for better inventory control and attended a conference where a number of business intelligence products were being demonstrated and sold. We looked at all of them, and the only company that really seemed interested in working with us was SAS. All of the others only seemed interested in selling to the Fortune 500, but SAS spent some time explaining what their software was capable of and put us in touch with a local value-added reseller who eventually put the system together for us. It really came down to finding the best software overall, but more importantly, finding a company who was interested in our 38-person company.

DELIVERABLES: The SAS system produces a variety of inventory reports, both preformatted and custom, based on our queries. Our reports show breakdowns by price, wine departments, suppliers and geographies, with the key information on how long the items have been in stock. When the SAS system came online in late summer 2008, we found nearly $400,000 in inventory that hadn’t moved in over a year. It was about 20 percent of our inventory. In early August, we had a huge sale to blow out that inventory concentrated at our higher price points. Given what’s happened with the economy since that sale, it was quite timely because we would be choking on that merchandise now.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We purchased our SAS software through a local company, Modern Analytics, who provides us with first-rate support. Consultants from Modern Analytics built the application to our specifications, helped install it and trained us in the use. It was a solid effort on their part, and we’re delighted with the responsiveness of Modern Analytics. We’ve been on the Internet for a decade now, so we’re very comfortable with technology and how it can drive our business, but we don’t have any dedicated IT staff in house. We have outsourced the maintenance and installation to Modern Analytics. It was a great investment decision that we have seen repay itself several times over. The ROI on the investment was a home run for us.

DOCUMENTATION: Our application is very simple to use and we haven’t had much need to consult the software documentation. It’s all fairly intuitive.

SAS Enterprise BI Server for Midsize Business


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(919) 677-8000

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