The SAP Apparel and Footwear solution (SAP AFS) has been around since the early 2000s, and many of its users over the years have grown accustomed to certain functionality and processes that it offered.
Even before the pandemic and economic crisis, brick-and-mortar retailers had been fighting a fierce battle against e-commerce players. Those challenges have now accelerated at a staggering speed.
The digital channel was largely left unscathed and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic — a lifeline for fashion companies. While some players leveraged their digital muscles to grow revenue, scores of retailers scrambled to widen their online sales. These fashion companies are better equipped than others—largely due to their digitization efforts.
Today, with the pandemic remaining a challenge, the apparel industry is rebooting, and, while the most-basic technologies have kept businesses relevant during this time, they will again have to adopt advanced methods to remain agile, and accommodate a changed, post-pandemic consumer.
Brands, Retailers and Manufacturers implementing SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business recognize that a new Digital Core is an opportunity to unify systems and processes across their global operations, drive efficiencies (IT and business), improve visibility and introduce standards across geographies.
Firstly, wish everyone a very happy new year. May the new year 2021 be a lot better than the troublesome 2020 we just got rid of.
Historically, analysts see the Fashion and Lifestyle industry as being laggards when it comes to technology adoption. But the pandemic has definitely pushed the retailers to adapt & innovate or perish.
For the Fashion and Retail industry, 2021 will continue to be a defining moment to showcase resilience and adapt and enable future growth through innovation. It is indeed remarkable to see the resilient retail industry in a year of COVID which has managed to not just ‘not lose ground’ (based on projections of a decline of around 10% for the year as of June 2020), but turnaround and grow 0.8% YoY is incredible to say the least. The stimulus, lack of travel & activities and the rise in overall personal savings for consumers in 2020 helped redirect some of that spend to retail.
Retail’s non-decline notwithstanding, there definitely were a few losers and unfortunately Clothing sector had to deal with a dismal -27% decline in growth YoY due to the pandemic, though there were a few winners like Nike, Lulu, Crocs etc. Word on the street is that the retail pundits are forecasting a resurgence for clothing in 2021, but in my opinion, it might just take a couple of years before the apparel sector gets back its mojo.
When the crisis hit, did it seem like you were fighting a losing battle trying to get critical supply chain insights? This is a scenario most companies can relate to; digital process gaps that lead to massive delays and frustration when it comes to getting critical supply chain insights.
Data Migration from SAP Apparel and Footwear Solution to SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical BusinessTue, Aug 18, 2020 |
For existing SAP customers, it is no longer a question of whether to move to SAP S/4HANA but rather a question of when they should move. While many customers are eager to implement S/4HANA for Fashion, making the move can be complex.
As machines have become more sophisticated at understanding and responding in natural language, we’ve seen a massive growth in conversational application. These dedicated apps are enabled with natural language processing that helps them understand casual speech input by text or voice.
As we move from the digital era to the intelligent era, enterprises need to turn to the tools of the future. But for companies with very specific business problems, customizing their existing ERP system is not a viable solution as custom applications and integrations within the core ERP system often result in:
- Difficulty performing updates and upgrades
- Higher costs to maintain
- Slow and challenging innovation
While SAP S/4HANA for Fashion delivers many benefits, it is important to remember that making the move is a large-scale project which requires an entire system to be moved. Most companies face difficulty during their move because they are unaware of which migration strategy is best for their current IT landscape.