Mothercare has switched on a group wide finance system, as part of a project to combine its technology with Early Learning Centre (ELC).

The retail chain, which bought ELC in 2007, decided the finance software needed to be standardised and automated across the group in order to improve efficiency and cut costs.

The group has now moved to Coda Financials software, which handles its accounting, financial reporting, and procurement. Mothercare previously ran a JDA retail finance system, and ELC used an older version of Coda software.

Non-financial data, such as average customer spend, the number of customers visiting each store, and human resources information, can all be linked in from electronic point of sale systems in each store.

“The move was prompted by the integration of Mothercare and the ELC,” Kevin Knight, project manager said. “What we had to implement was a set of store reports, going out to regional managers, to help with decision making.”

Coda was chosen because of its ease of use, efficiency and web interface, he said. It is used by 50 financial staff, and 200 employees in procurement.

The company is now moving into a second phase of the deployment, under which it plans to extend reporting and improve the system’s link with Cognos business intelligence.

“Reporting has become better and analysis has improved since we implemented the system,” Knight said. “We can communicate a lot more easily with the stores.”

Mothercare also uses IBM System i servers, IBM Websphere middleware, and a warehouse management application from Manhattan Associates.

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