Solution Brief

Billion-dollar Retailer Forecasts Future by Adding Modern Reporting to ERP

It’s been decades since a billion-dollar American clothing retailer began in a single location. Despite its now far-reaching brick-and-mortar and online presence, the merchant is committed to continuing the quality and service that made it a success. Part of that process includes a major, multiyear deployment of a company-wide SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

The new technology touches, and is expected to improve, every facet of the business. While such a system creates automation and efficiency in many areas, it can create challenges in others. Here, the difficulties centered around a slow, virtually nonexistent reporting function. Though the retailer had an ERP-implementation partner, it wanted a business intelligence-focused specialist to customize a reporting system that could give its analysts a big-picture business view.

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Leaders here wanted an on-budget and on-time rollout, but they didn’t necessarily have the right variables in place to apply a “by the book” BI solution. They needed a partner with creative and flexible deployment expertise – one that also could work well with outside contractors. They brought in BlueGranite. 

We worked alongside the company’s ERP team, partnering with three groups from the company – finance, manufacturing and transport, and inventory forecasting – to listen to their goals and tailor the new system’s reporting functions to their needs.

Building Business Insight

The finance group previously had no way to see information at a macro level. We created a system that quickly gives analysts alternate data views, allowing them to take a step back to look at the bigger picture or to drill into the details, all while meeting financial reporting requirements. 

We worked with the manufacturing/transportation group to build reporting that shows what products are coming from which suppliers, and how they get to the company – boat, plane, truck or train. 

And lastly, the inventory forecasting group needed a way to predict the right amount of in-stock product for any given season. The latter group was switching from a practice of warehousing the entirety of a season’s stock – with maximum inventory levels at the season’s beginning and dwindling supply toward the season’s end – to ordering supply as needed throughout the season. In retail, the longer a product sits in a warehouse, the more it costs the corporation selling it. The new reporting system is designed to cut costs by helping the inventory group discover how much inventory it really needs, where and when. 

A System That Changes with a Company

BlueGranite also provided staff with best practices guidance, showing them how to maintain and add on to what we built. We wanted to make sure they were comfortable enough to add to or change the reporting system as needed – replacing a static system with one that can grow and adapt over time to the company’s changing needs. The system will adapt to each phase of the ERP rollout, eliminating the need for frequent, major updates

Let BlueGranite help your organization evolve. Contact us today to learn the many ways data can work for you.

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