About Columbus Consulting International


Columbus Consulting comprises a team of highly experienced specialists in retail systems and processes.

Our Mission


Provide consulting services with superior results to a select group of clients.

Columbus Consulting was founded in 2001 with a vision of being a high quality consulting service provider in the retail sector.  Our vision was never to be the biggest practice, but rather to provide superior services in a unique manner.  Our mission statement reflects our vision of delivering outstanding results for our clients and ourselves.

Columbus has grown to become the largest retail niche consulting practice in the industry. Our practice continually evolves but our focus has remained consistent over the years.  We are Inventory Optimization experts.  Anything that manages the inventory throughout the business including people, process, and technology is within our core skillset.  While we are adept at virtually all aspects of retail operations, our core strengths lie in the following:


Our Board of Directors


Columbus Consulting’s Board of Directors represents over 130 years of retail, consulting and software expertise. This expertise guides the strategy and operational effectiveness of the firm. The Board is chaired by Richard von Hirschberg,  with Jon Beck, CEO Columbus Consulting,  Kate Gorman, Elizabeth Elliott, Marc Reifeis, Stuart Tattum
and Tom Phelps as the elected Board members.



Jon Beck is CEO of Columbus Consulting. His expertise includes Merchandising and Planning Strategy, Organization, Processes & Systems. Jon is a retail specialist with over 20 years of experience working with retail, wholesale and manufacturing companies focused on improving corporate performance through better planning, execution and analysis. A highly motivated business consultant, system architect and integrator with broad global experience, Jon has successfully designed and implemented planning and allocation solutions for nearly 100 clients, spanning apparel, footwear and hardlines.

Prior to joining Columbus Consulting, Jon had his own consulting firm as well as being employed at JDA and Predictix.  Through these experiences, Jon was involved in the design, development and implementation of many of today’s industry-leading planning and allocation software solutions, making him one of the most renowned experts in the industry.



bio_vonh_richardRichard von Hirschberg is a Merchandising Process and Systems specialist with more than 30 years of experience in design, development and implementation of various market-leading merchandising solutions. He has provided strategic advice to numerous US and International retailers. He drives optimal design and implementation of merchandising processes and systems with deep domain in the functional areas of Merchandise Planning, Assortment Planning, and Allocation.

Prior to joining Columbus, Richard headed up the original development teams of two of the world’s leading Merchandise Planning systems: Arthur and i2 Merchandise Planner. He has had management and executive responsibility for marketing and product strategy with four US software companies involved in the development of supply chain and merchandising systems: IBM, ProfitLogic, AllPoints Systems, and EXE Technologies.



Kate Gorman is a Partner and VP Sales, Marketing with Columbus Consulting.  Kate is a senior level executive with over 25 years of experience in the retail industry.  She has extensive leadership and practical experience in retail management, retail consulting and retail software development.  She is a proven executive delivering bottom line growth through hands on management of core disciplines including  sales operations, marketing, buying, inventory control, business intelligence, logistics and business process development.

Kate’s direct experience in retail, consulting and software strategy give her unique insights and expertise in delivering solutions that add value and improved results.

Prior to joining Columbus, Kate was most recently Executive General Manager for JR/Duty Free in Australia/New Zealand.  In this role she was responsible for the growth of the organization from a start up to the leading Duty Free retailer in the region and was directly accountable for the EBIT results.  In the decade before joining JR/Duty Free, Kate held leadership positions at ThinkFast Consulting, Retek and JDA, specializing in product strategy and solution development in merchandise planning, assortment planning, allocation, replenishment and business intelligence.

elizabeth elliottElizabeth Elliott is a Managing Partner with Columbus Consulting. Elizabeth has a proven track record of successfully leading and implementing company initiatives, and ensuring people, process, culture and technology are aligned to deliver sustained results. Her expertise includes improving efficiency and effectiveness of planning and allocation, supply chain functions, marketing operations, product development, merchandising, finance, stores and inventory management. She has a strong ability to influence and build collaborative relationships across all functions of an organization, driving buy-in and ownership of strategic initiatives while managing day-to-day operations.




Marc ReifeisMarc Reifeis is a Partner and Board member with Columbus Consulting where his focus has been in the areas of Merchandise Planning & Allocation, Business Intelligence, Size Optimization, and Manufacturing Optimization. His experience consists of in-depth, hands-on experience in the implementation, integration and management of custom software applications for Merchandise Planning, Assortment Planning and Management and Advanced Allocation. Other functional areas of expertise include optimization of manufacturing forecasts and size modeling utilizing customer purchase data.




stuart tattumStuart Tattum is a Managing Partner with Columbus Consulting where he has demonstrated a track record of delivering reliable, high quality, bottom-line oriented results for his customers in the retail industry. Stuart is a highly motivated professional with a unique combination of outstanding business and information technology skills. His experience includes significant business process and systems projects for US and international retailers and sophisticated project management in the area of software development. He is a retail software veteran with over 31 years of industry experience.




tom phelpsTom Phelps is a Partner with Columbus Consulting focused on Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions, including budgeting, planning, reporting, and financial consolidation strategies; process improvement; and the implementation of supporting technologies. Tom’s expertise in the performance management space has been developed through experience gained working with over 100 retail organizations, over the past 25 years, primarily within the finance and operational functions. The results have helped clients drive profitable growth, controls risk, and create greater visibility into business performance.