On Thursday, September 18th 2014, attune conducted a webinar on How SAP Fashion Management Helps Win the Omnichannel Race. During this webinar, we explored how FMS helps address some of the fashion industry’s principal challenges by enabling a customer-driven supply chain, supported by a single unified view of customer data and global inventory across all business channels – wholesale, retail, and manufacturing.
For those of you who did join the live broadcast, we personally thank you for attending. Additionally, if you are looking to learn more on FMS, check out our previous posts - SAP Fashion Management launches at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014, Top 5 Reasons why a fashion company on SAP AFS and IS-Retail should consider SAP’s Fashion Management Solution, Retail's New Imperative: Building a Responsive Operating Model and attune services for SAP Fashion Management.
Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions we received during and after the webinar.
Q: What specifically does FMS bring to the table for an organization already running SAP Retail on HANA?
A: In essence, it is the ability to optimize inventory - This becomes vital in the quest to reduce out-of-stock situations and drive improvements to their top and bottom line. This is facilitated through real-time visibility across a common pool of inventory, across channels.
In addition, SAP FMS incorporates best practices driven by 300 firms that have contributed to the SAP Apparel Footwear Solution over the past 15 years, which include the world’s top apparel/footwear labels and the largest sourcing agents to our industry. It amalgamates their experience to help define much of what the core functionality would be for FMS.
The result is a solution with key differentiation around industry specific capabilities such as allocation, product categorizations, and definitions optimized for fashion, in addition to detailed planning for outsourced process such as fabric, trims, and labels.
Q: Can inventory be consumed across multiple channels (wholesale/retail/e-commerce) in FMS?
A: The added advantage of SAP FMS is that it provides the capability to separate and control demand and supply across different channels (wholesale/retail/e-commerce) in real-time using segmentation strategies. For example, retail demand can first consume supply reserved for retail channels only. Alternatively segmentation strategies can be defined to permit retail demand to consume supply reserved for retail channels, and if insufficient, consume supply reserved for another channel (wholesale/e-commerce).
FMS also offers the flexibility to move supply from one channel to another, and these strategies could be applied in Planning, Availability Check, and Allocation.
Q: Is the main purpose in migrating to FMS to gain accountability and ownership by providing inventory visibility?
A: Yes, but it is more than that. It also helps in optimizing demand supply match which helps in reducing out-of-stock situations.
Q: Can SAP FMS run on SAP HANA without migration to SAP’s Customer Activity Repository?
A: SAP’s Customer Activity Repository (CAR) is a retail application based on the SAP HANA platform to support retailers in becoming more customer-centric by bringing together customer, sales, and inventory information from siloed applications and offering built-in predictive functionality. Therefore, CAR is not a requirement to run FMS.
Q: What is the business case for today’s SAP AFS users to make the switch to SAP Fashion Management?
A: There are three distinct drivers that today’s SAP Apparel and Footwear Solution users could consider:
1. Intelligence and Insight to Improve Execution
Leveraging ‘Big Data’ which include social information and semantic analytics will improve demand and forecast planning, which in turn will improve both out-of-stock and markdown rates. For example, the monitoring of social media chatter on Facebook and Twitter could determine how well the color tangerine was received in the Northeast this spring.
2. Channel-agnostic Visibility
SAP FMS harmonizes cross channel processes and manages them within a unified system, while supporting channel-specific processes where necessary. By bringing these separate functions onto a single platform, a fashion company can create and monitor a common pool of inventory which can be leveraged to flexibly meet demand across channels.
For example, when a brand with B2C, B2B and company owned stores receives a notification from a small retailer account for a product which the brand’s distribution center has already allocated to other orders, FMS facilitates inventory visibility across all stores which assists in identify the stores where that particular unit is overstocked. Instead of having to markdown those units at a later stage, the brand could fulfill the need from the retailer and arrange to drop ship the goods.
3. Consumer Intimacy
When semantic data streams combine with traditional analytics in real-time, opportunities for dynamic pricing and personalized in-store customer promotions are made available, thus increasing in-store traffic, conversion rates, and repeat business.
For example, retail consumers can be greeted via their iPhone when entering a store, with their purchase history made available to brands and retailers through SAP CAR. Additionally, the speed and processing power to drive real-time promotions and dynamic pricing can be made available, with RFID tags on the items customers select being utilized to drive offers for related accessories.Stay tuned for more information as we delve deeper into SAP Fashion Management and how it impacts fashion businesses.