Last year, I brainstormed with the Fair Factories Clearinghouse on using Collaborative Technologies for ethical sourcing management. They were looking for a tool that enabled their members to collaboratively monitor and share information about global workplace conditions among other things. I was pretty thrilled to hear at NRF this year that their sharing platform has been live for a while and they have over 8000 documents on shared factories and over 1800 factories with more than one member. The systems architecture is based on a Microsoft.Net platform with the latest version of Microsoft SQL-Server as the back-end database, and Sunguard, a professional hosting facility, securely hosts it. FFC published a PowerPoint Deck with details about their Collaborative Compliance Solutions as part of the NRF Convention 2009 Handouts. (Link to Presentation)
To be successful in the retail marketplace, retailers need to tap into the power of collaboration. Technology solutions can help retailers achieve a more transparent and efficient process across Home Office and Stores as well as with their supply chain. I think the solution used by the FFC is an excellent example of the retail industry collaborating together to share information, reduce costs and at the same improve factory conditions around the world.
Collaboration Solutions can help Retail Organizations become more efficient internally as well. Collaboration can improve processes in a number of areas. A lot of Retailers that I work with are changing the they communicate from Home Office to Stores: the current mode of communication includes using email, fax and phone. Using Collaboration Solutions, Retailers can publish News, Announcements, training Material, Task Lists on a common platform and target the content to specific groups. Collaboration can also help to ensure improved consistency across all stores and channels, which is vital if customers are going to relate to a retailer’s brand.
One of the big challenges that many retail organizations are facing is a lack of visibility into data and information across the company. Collaboration Solutions can empower employees by giving them access to relevant information in a timely manner to make quick decisions. Some of the collaboration solutions that I have seen being deployed in Retail include Crisis Management, Product Recall, Promotions Management, New Store Openings, New Employee Training, Employee OnBoarding and many more.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 helps your organization get more done by providing a platform for sharing information and working together in teams, communities and people-driven processes. Office SharePoint Server is an important part of the overall Microsoft collaboration vision and integrates with other collaborative products to offer a comprehensive infrastructure for working with others.