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Thorntons plc - Essay Example

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Summary
Thorntons is a British chocolate company established by Joseph William Thornton in 1911. Thorntons today is a 180m turnover company with nearly 400 shops and cafes and around 200 franchises together with internet, mail order and commercial services
Thorntons operates in four customer-market segments: gifts; personal treat; family-share; and, children, each with different customer needs…
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Download file to see previous pages The stores offer premium and hand-crafted boxed chocolates, hampers, gift boxes, corporate gifts, and seasonal candies. Some of the Thornton shops double as cafes where patrons can get coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. The company sells sweets through its catalog and via its Web site, as well as through retailers. In addition, the company operates coffee shops under the name Caf Thorntons.
Thorntons, a UK chain of chocolatiers, has implemented G.O.L.D., a suite of retail management software from Aldata, a leading provider of software solutions for the global retail industry, to support its business growth and forward strategy.
In 1911, Joseph William Thornton opened the first Thorntons shop in Sheffield, England. Nearly 100 years later Thorntons plc now has an annual turnover of more than 160million, over 350 own shops and over 200 Franchises. The product ranges now include Ice Cream, Cakes, Biscuits, Chilled Chocolates as well as the more traditional Fudge, Toffee and Chocolates.
Historically a manufacturer, Thorntons had built up its business based around production rather retailing. Stores were a later development, during the eighties, and existing systems were developed rather than revamped.
Jim McLauchlan, Thorntons Program Manager, explains, "Our ordering ...
A selection of Thorntons stores also includes an in-store Caf.
The company produces Thorntons-branded products for many retailers including Tesco, and also makes selected own-brand products for Marks & Spencer and Boots.
Historically a manufacturer, Thorntons had built up its business based around production rather retailing. Stores were a later development, during the eighties, and existing systems were developed rather than revamped.
Thorntons' existing IT infrastructure had therefore been built up over many years and comprised a variety of systems with limited integration between them.
Jim McLauchlan, Thorntons Program Manager, explains, "Our ordering system was over 20 years old and had been heavily customized over this time without full supporting documentation, so it became almost impossible to make further modifications. In addition to this, we had a number of unsupported platforms that gave unwanted risk. The third factor was that these systems no longer supported our future strategy.
Replenishment was handled manually and was based not on store demand- more on the 'knowledge' of the store manager. Orders were actually phoned through from the stores to a Thorntons telesales team.
As a result, Thorntons was unable to react quickly enough, to adjust production to match demand in the stores. For a business that is effectively a fashion retailer, needing to monitor, match and predict trends, the systems gap required urgent attention.
Solution
Thorntons did not hurry to make a decision, because most vendors it considered did not have systems specifically for a business that was retail, franchise, commercial and manufacturing. The company is currently vertically integrated and has developed different systems to cope with the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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