Client Accomplishment: Flynn & O'Hara Uniforms, Inc.
Multi-Branch Retailer Implements Centralized Processing and E-com Solutions for increased customer service, reliability and growth.
Implementation of a fault tolerant, central processing computing environment across 15 locations, encompassing Point Of Sale Applications, Disaster Recovery, UNIX and E-com solutions helps Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company increase customer service and manage growth.
Founded in 1972, Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company provides School Uniforms to students all over the country. The management's idea of an ideal uniform company is one that would provide high quality uniforms at a fair price and deliver them in a timely fashion. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company has over 220 people working from 15 locations in 4 states.
Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company's business needs can be summarized in two phases.
Phase 1: Redesign IT Infrastructure to eliminate inconsistencies in various business areas, including Inventory Control, Point of Sale, Accounting, Remote Connectivity, System Reporting, System Uptime and Networking Support all in a effort to manage growth and increase operational efficiencies.
Phase 2: Expand this new and infrastructure and the business to the internet by providing our customers a secure, real time online ordering system.
To meet the requirements of Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company by implementing a two phased implementation approach.
"After a detailed examination of all of the requirements for FLYNN & O'HARA UNIFORM COMPANY, ASK designed a creative solution for the on-going development of their applications, replacement and management of the UNIX and network LAN/WAN environments and extending Flynn's current business practices to the Internet." said Stephen Pirolli, Principal Consultant, ASK Technologies, Inc.
This plan included automating and integrating most of the business processes at Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company. It also necessitated providing highly skilled and experienced Application, Network & UNIX administrators to oversee these duties throughout the implementation process and for ongoing technical and operational support.
"The road map for this transition was outlined in a detailed, 2 phased plan broken out into specific tasks for each separate area of concern. What was attractive to the customer was that although these proposals were separate and distinct they were written with the entire organization and interconnectivity of the client's IT efforts in mind," said Pirolli.
In an effort to build on the functionality of the current application, and a new network architecture, ASK leveraged their knowledge of the client's environment to improve the dynamics and efficiency of the upgraded systems, application and overall infrastructure.
"We ultimately decided to choose ASK to develop, install, integrate and manage our new systems because we felt comfortable with the level of flexibility and technical acumen that ASK had already demonstrated in the past," said Sean Flynn, Flynn & O'Hara Uniform Company." ASK's ability to partner with their clients also played a prominent role in the our decision to trust the future of our infrastructure and systems management to ASK," said Flynn.
"ASK was able to provide stability by developing, implementing, and supporting most of troubled aspects of the client's IT infrastructure. This stability was the foundation that allowed their management staff to gain control over the information and data that was previously un-reliable," said Pirolli.
In order to effectively meet the particular requirements of Flynn and O'Hara's initiative--to market to their existing customers over the Internet--ASK initiated a detailed study of their current retail business processes. ASK consultants in database design, web design and development, UNIX integration, and communications met with the executive team of Flynn and O'Hara on several occasions to design a project specification that would best fit the business environment of Flynn and O'Hara Uniform Company. Special consideration was given to the need for rapid development and deployment so as to launch the Online Ordering site to take advantage of the upcoming peak-buying season for school uniforms.
Once the specification was completed and approved, the development process was begun in a coordinated manner - with all individuals of the development team offering input from their particular field of expertise. The Flynn and O'Hara management team was kept informed on a continuing basis in order that project milestones could be achieved and approved in a timely manner and within budget.
The Flynn and O'Hara Online Ordering System is custom-designed to closely model the client's existing business processes for handling customer purchases and integrating changes in inventory, pricing, and individual school contracts. The system involved thoroughly interfacing the web-store database (resident in-house at Flynn and O'Hara on a Windows NT/MS-SQL server), the web site (resident at the ISP), and the UNIX back-office main legacy system at Flynn and O'Hara.
ASK used its in-house expertise and knowledge of the client's processes to create a seamless web-to-Unix application which updates both systems on a regular basis and allows contract information to flow between UNIX, SQL, and web environments with high security and error-checking in place. In the 8 months since the site was launched, the site has experienced greater than 99% up time. The application has proven to be solid, stable, and robust under the varying conditions of retail pressure.
More importantly, the user experience of the Online Ordering System closely matches the method customers use to purchase items of apparel and accessories at Flynn and O'Hara's retail stores. Thousands of customers have used the web site to order merchandise since its launch at the peak of the year 2000 ordering season. Both Flynn and O'Hara and ASK are anticipating the one-million dollar sales mark for orders placed online to be soon surpassed.
Note: Clients mentioned in this article should not be contacted directly. For more information about the client or accomplishment, contact the ASK consultant for this account or contact our corporate headquarters at (610) 617-0300.