To stay on course for growth in the fashion market, you need an efficient merchandise planning system on top of a lucrative multi-channel business. This is where Takko Fashion saw potential for improvement, to alleviate the extensive manual effort that went into its planning activities. Because Takko Fashion did not want to completely abandon its specific planning processes, the business looked for a new tool that would integrate planning, analysis, and reporting into a single platform and be flexible enough to map internal business processes in the best way possible.
After exploring the market, Takko decided to use the BOARD all-in-one platform to create an integrated solution for merchandise and assortment planning, to be developed within the organization with the help of SDG consulting AG's planning experts. After just three months, the Merchandise Financial Planning solution went live, followed by the assortment planning system, which has a direct interface to the order management process. Today, the end-to-end solution makes the company's merchandise control and assortment planning far more efficient.
Takko Fashion offers casual fashion for the whole family. The company sees itself as a multi-channel, smart discount retailer, and lets its customers decide for themselves how, where, and when to buy their fashion. With more than 1,900 stores in 17 countries and close to 18,000 employees worldwide, Takko Fashion is one of the largest fashion discount stores in Europe. With a wide variety of products and strong own brands, Takko Fashion capitalizes on an unlimited shopping experience in the multi-channel world of retail.
In the past, Takko fostered a planning landscape which became less and less consistent as the company steadily grew. This resulted in increased manual workload to try and keep the Management Summary Board free from errors.
"Especially because of the ever-increasing volume of data, our system was pushed to its limits," explains Bernhard Westphal, Senior Director Planning & Allocation at Takko Fashion. "Even planning our product ranges, which cover several thousand items, became nothing short of confusing and made the system more susceptible to errors."
The new tool had to adapt as flexibly as possible to the planning processes at Takko Fashion, and not the other way around.
"We soon realized that we had very high expectations from our choice of software. The tool had to help us plan our merchandise consistently, with a single point-of-truth and with a uniform look and feel, providing analysis and reporting capabilities while being flexible enough for us to map our specific processes in the best way possible."
To get as detailed an overview as possible of the tools in question, Takko Fashion invited various providers and consulting companies to a number of PoCs (Proof of Concepts), including to map Takko's own module logic, to come up with an automated distribution solution, and a solution to calculate batch quantities for its stores.
"In the PoCs, SDG together with the BOARD all-in-one platform stood out the most. This was both because SDG's planning experts fully understand the fashion and retail industry, and because they convinced us, as customers, that with BOARD, they could develop a solution that would take into account our specific merchandise planning requirements," says Bernhard.
Takko Fashion and SDG started implementing the Merchandise Financial Planning solution (MFP) and within three months the merchandise planning system went live. It covers sales, goods-in, stock, and margin planning, with a rolling forecast of more than 50 sometimes highly complex key figures.
"It was amazing how quickly SDG implemented the BOARD solution, working very closely with us," says Bernhard. "We had very special requirements for the MFP solution and to be honest, we were surprised that we could plan the next season already with the new tool."
The MFP project was seamlessly followed by the implementation of the Assortment Planning solution, which has a direct interface to the product and order management system.
"It was important to us from the very beginning not only to have a stand-alone planning solution, but also to have an interface to the operative system, so that we can use BOARD to both view the schedule and to analyze the current actual figures. It means we can use just one system for target/actual comparison," says Bernard. "Many vendors offer simple planning solutions, but few systems let us see 'where we actually are, what we planned, and what are we planning to do'. We're really making progress in our assortment planning, especially with the features in BOARD like 'what's hot / what's not' charts and what-if analyses, as well as OTB management."
The Customer Benefit
As well as higher data quality and data consistency, with 100 users now signed up to the BOARD solution, Takko Fashion also promises more agility and less workload for all those involved.
"We used to use three different systems just for assortment planning. Now it all happens in one system," says Bernhard.
"With its open architecture, the BOARD solution integrates perfectly into the overall application landscape at Takko,” says a delighted Beate Döker, Head of IT for the project. “And working with SDG in this very diverse system environment has been straightforward and professional from day one. Several complex sub-projects had to be synchronized with our original data warehouse and the connected product and order management system. From the very beginning, the working relationship was well-structured and cooperative.”
Reduced susceptibility to errors due to a single point-of-truth, increased automation with integrated workflow control, and more detailed planning and simulations are just some of the benefits, and the reasons why the BOARD solution fully met the expectations of Takko Fashion.