With more than 100 locations spread across the country, Gander Mountain operates the largest retail network of hunting, fishing, camping and marine products and accessory stores in the U.S.
Gander Mountain’s relationship with Logic can be traced back to 2000, when the company implemented Oracle Retail (then Retek). As the implementation was in process, the Gander team engaged Logic to help connect their retail application to some of the business’ other systems.
In 2006, the company began to assess its RMS infrastructure to determine if an upgrade was in the best interest of the business.
“We needed to add some of the modules and functionality available in version 12, but we’d done a lot of modifications to the original implementation we did in 2000,” said ArMand Nelson, IS Director for Gander Mountain. “The ultimate question for us was: do we want to upgrade to the newest version or continue to modify what we have. We decided adding modules and further modifications to our existing system was going to take more time and cost more in the long run.”
Gander interviewed several systems integrators for the upgrade to Oracle version 12, and ultimately tapped Logic to lead the effort. “We felt their approach and their process was a good fit for us,” Nelson said. “We liked their focus. They’re not generalists – they’re completely focused on Oracle retail. That’s all they do, and they do it well. That focus was a big deal for us.”
While that expertise was important for Nelson and the Gander team, the decision went beyond the functional approach and skill sets. “This was a significant project that would require a lot of collaboration, so a ‘fit’ between their style and our style was important,” Nelson added. “We asked ourselves: do we feel comfortable with them? Do we feel they can do the job? A lot of it came down to personality.”
The Logic and Gander teams built a phased approach to the upgrade, which consisted of Oracle’s retail merchandising, price management, invoice matching, allocation, demand forecasting and data warehousing modules. The project’s first phase focused on data warehousing, then moved on to the overall merchandising solution. A separate project focused on demand forecasting to complete the upgrade.
Beyond a smooth, efficient and timely installation, Gander had another over-arching goal for the project. “We wanted to avoid the situation we found ourselves in after making many modifications to our original implementation,” said Nelson, “So our goal was and still is to stay on base code as often as we can.”
Logic kept its sites on that goal throughout the entire project, even when the Gander team was ready to make system modifications.
“They did a very good job of challenging the business,” Nelson said. “Throughout the project, we’d identify areas for modifications, and they’d push back. They’d say yes, you can make that modification, but it’s going to be more expensive and here’s the impact it’ll have on other systems. Then they’d show us how to use the Oracle system as-is to achieve the same goal without modifying it. That was a big factor in keeping the project on track.”
With an upgrade that brings new technology forward and impacts the entire retail management system, the impact is both significant and difficult to specify.
“We’ve definitely seen better productivity and more streamlined processes across the business,” Nelson concluded. “And we’re able to take advantage of some of the newest Oracle technologies. New operating systems, for example, which allow us to dynamically reallocate processors, which make the systems run faster and help with overall batch times.”
The upgrade officially went live in March 2009, but there’s always more work to do. “We need to keep our retail management system up-to-speed with our growing and changing business,” Nelson described.
When asked why his team continues to partner with Logic, Nelson added: “They’re responsive, and they bring in people who are experts in each area – people that know the retail business. When we’re dealing with invoice matching, for example, I need a partner who can sit down with our invoice experts and understand the real business situation and speak our language. Logic can do that. When any project we have touches RMS, we just call Logic at this point.”