bdg and BOARD implement an agile merchandise, assortment, item planning and BI solution

Good planning is crucial to a company’s success, particularly in the fashion apparel sector, as the reaction speed and the ability to adapt quickly to changing consumer trends is now essential. Their shift from catalogue retailing to an integrated omnichannel model has also placed new planning imperatives on the buying and merchandising function at N Brown. The existing Excel-based legacy planning capability consequently needed to be replaced with a fast, agile, fully integrated solution. In particular, the planning process was cumbersome and labour-intensive and could not be accurately and easily rolled up to company level. Nor did it adequately provide both top down and bottom up planning capability. Reporting and analysis were provided by a combination of Business Objects and Excel, requiring excessive reliance on technical and business analysts resulting in bottle necks and delays.

N Brown had managed to plan complex merchandise requirements in a spreadsheet environment with the attendant issues of delay, low productivity, poor visibility, poor accuracy and inability to roll up plans to company level. The goal of the project with bdg was to deliver an agile, integrated merchandise planning, analytics and reporting suite to support optimised omni-channel operation across both fashion and general merchandise divisions.

The solution also needed to enable self-service so that the user population themselves could identify and respond to changes in consumer trends without waiting for additional expert input.

In order to provide usable functionality quickly, bdg sub-divided design and development into logical modules which could be introduced to the users progressively, but ultimately benefit from a fully integrated solution.

The modules included Merchandise Financial Planning, Assortment Framework, Master Assortment, Assortment Selection, pre-season planning and in-season management WSSI, and Item Planning, together with a drill anywhere reporting and analytics dashboard.

Read the full success story now.