38490 Lids Profile
PeopleSoft Helps Hat Retailer
Meet the Holiday Rush
The Customer
Boston-based Lids is the world’s
largest retailer of hats, operating
325 stores in 42 states. Lids,
founded in 1993, sells lifestyle
headwear, primarily baseball style
caps, with licensed sports leagues
and branded fashion styles. In
1999 Lids plans to expand into
Puerto Rico and Canada.
Computing Environment
• Database: Microsoft SQL Server
• Hardware: Compaq ProLiant 6000
• Operating System: Microsoft NT
Service Partner
Sudbury River Consulting Group
Implementation Time
10 weeks
PeopleSoft Products
PeopleSoft General Ledger,
Payables, Purchasing, Asset
Management, Projects, Budgets,
Human Resources, PeopleTools
Two young entrepreneurs who knew hats were hot have seen their initial
idea blossom into a national chain with 325 stores in 42 states.
In 1993, Ben Fischman and Douglass Karp, then 20 and 17 years old,
identified an unfilled market niche for fashionable licensed baseball caps.
They launched Lids as a temporary kiosk in the Atrium Mall in Newton,
Massachusetts. Today Lids is the world’s largest retailer of hats —shoppers
can’t seem to get enough of its merchandise which bears the licensed logos
of professional sports teams and colleges, and branded fashions from Nike,
Reebok, adidas, and others.
To sustain Lids’ explosive growth, in 1998 an infrastructure of people
and processes was put in place which eventually led to the implementation
of PeopleSoft software— a rapid 10-week implementation that occurred at
the same breathtaking speed as the growth of Lids itself.
Third Time the Charm
“PeopleSoft is the third financial system we’ve implemented,” says Cathy
Tsoukalas, Lids’ controller. “Initially we had a Windows-based application
that was not integrated into our point-of-sale (POS) system. By 1996 we
had 100 stores and the system was obviously inadequate to sustain our
growth. We purchased another package that integrated POS and financials,
but as Lids’ growth continued to skyrocket, this system proved not to be
flexible or robust enough. Plus, it lacked a report writer which we needed
for financial analysis and decision support.”
Lids also planned to install a retail management system for replenishment, stock ledgers, and other key retail functions. A major requirement for
the new financial system was the ability to integrate with this retail software.
“We needed software and a server that would support Lids for the next
ten years, whether we had 300 or a thousand stores, in the U.S. or overseas,”
explains Tsoukalas. “The software and hardware had to provide a tightly
integrated financial and HR system that was scalable and flexible enough
to grow along with the corporation. We evaluated products from three of
the leading vendors, and within two weeks we had made our decision —
PeopleSoft Select was far and away the best fit for our company. We had to
move fast — the 1998 holiday season, our prime selling time, was just
around the corner.
“PeopleSoft empowers users,” she continues, “and Lids is a user driven
company.” We could see that the PeopleSoft software, with its clean
interface and built-in workflow procedures, would give our accounting
staff the ability to move around the system with ease.” Lids also needed
a strong platform to support the new software and found that Compaq’s
ProLiant server best fit the bill. Says Tsoukalas, “We knew Compaq
would give us system reliability and scalability over the long-term.”
PeopleSoft Select and PeopleSoft Express to the Rescue
Tsoukalas says that PeopleSoft Select — a complete solution of software,
hardware, and services designed for medium-sized companies — was a
major factor in the decision. In particular, the PeopleSoft Express rapid
implementation methodology was just what Lids needed to get the job
done in the shortest time possible. Another key factor in the decision was
the actual implementation team, including consultants from a PeopleSoft
implementation partner, Sudbury River. “We met and were impressed by
the team from the very first. We knew we could work with them.”
The implementation took place in a PeopleSoft implementation center
in Providence, and Tsoukalas, along with six of her colleagues, spent
three days a week defining requirements and configuring the system in an
intensive hands-on environment. “In the lab, we could crash the system
and learn from our mistakes,” she recalls. “With Express we were able to
bring the system online at Lids in only 10 weeks. We were ready for the
holiday season with time to spare.”
Included in the PeopleSoft implementation were six products: General
Ledger, Payables, Purchasing, Asset Management, Projects, and Budgets —
all running on the Microsoft SQL Server database. PeopleSoft Human
Resources was scheduled for a second phase of the implementation. Also
on tap was the integration of a retail management system with the
PeopleSoft applications.
“…it used to take eight
to 10 hours to compile
store P/L reports—
with PeopleSoft and
Compaq it’s now down
to nine minutes.”
Cathy Tsoukalas
Decision Support Made Easy
“We’re already experiencing a number of benefits,” she reports. “With
PeopleSoft’s nVision reporting tool, our users can tailor their reports and
have the information in minutes. For example, it used to take eight to 10
hours to compile store P/L reports — with PeopleSoft and Compaq it’s now
down to nine minutes. We switched from manually handling purchase
orders to processing them online using PeopleSoft’s built in workflow —
a great savings in time, paperwork, and error correction.
“PeopleSoft allows us to put decision support tools in the hands of
our top management, district sales managers, and retail managers so they
can access and drill down into information that was never available to
them before,” she adds. “Lids is far ahead of its competitors and, with
PeopleSoft’s help, we intend to stay that way. We’re positioning ourselves
for the next century.”
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The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
Copyright © 1999 PeopleSoft, Inc. All rights reserved.
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