Due to tightening margins in the competitive automotive retail industry, Strauss Discount Auto, a leading after-market retailer of automotive parts, supplies and accessories in the Northeastern United States, implemented a data warehouse to meet the challenges it faced with stocking the company's 110 stores with 14,000 products from 700 vendors. Within the first year of its data warehouse implementation, the company has already begun to reap the benefits of real-time sales and inventory information.

Prior to embarking on the data warehouse initiative in February 1997, Strauss lacked a coherent business intelligence system to organize and analyze information on key areas of corporate and store operations. Strauss had outdated computing resources; the IS department had to gather data from multiple sources, manually load it into a PC database management system and attempt to analyze the data with custom-built front-end tools. Unfortunately, this process could not accurately reflect daily conditions in the fast-moving retail automotive business. The lack of timely business information hampered Strauss' ability to make correct business decisions because it was managing from a summary and historical view rather than from real-time specifics.

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