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As well as maintaining growth in its wholesale-activities, ASICS Europe wishes to focus more on its retail trade. In order to manage the ambitious growth in the number of ASICS shops, the global sports brand needs an adequate retail planning approach. A new planning tool supports the realisation of these strategic objectives
SAP BPC – ASICS
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SAP BPC at ASICS
“ASICS Europe used to be a real wholesale organisation. Three years ago we launched our retail business, for strategic reasons,” says Gideon Tahan, Senior Manager Group Control at ASICS. “We consider retail as an extension of our marketing activities. The ASICS brand is already well-known among runners. We want to reinforce the brand and geographical growth in Europe by opening our own retail stores. This gives customers access to the entire ASICS collection and our experts for advice.”
Retail equals detail
“The retail department needed a solid planning model,” says Sander Geusebroek, Management Controller at ASICS. “We used to work
with Excel, but the rapidly expanding number of stores in Europe meant that it became unworkable. We now have 60 stores, at the end
of the year 85 and the following years we will continue to expand.”
“Retail is very different from wholesale. You need insight in the details of a store in order to be able to make a decision”
Simplifying the budgeting process for retail
“It is important to have financial insight per store in a clear and efficient way,” says Gideon about the reason behind the implementation of their retail planning in SAP BPC. “We wanted to simplify the retail budgeting process by aligning it to the business processes, to increase the insights and to enable straightforward management reporting. We did not only want to talk about the stores and the financial results of the stores, but also to be able to plan ahead with the aid of management information on different levels.”
“Since we are expanding at such a rapid pace, we want to be able to keep the comparison of the stores clean,” says Sander. “Before, we were not able to reveal the differences in drivers for the turnover development of a new or an existing store.” “You have to invest heavily to start a new store and make it a success. After one year the store will have to generate continuous revenue. Using the new planning solution enables us to apply different drivers to distinguish between the evolution of expansion stores, non-comparable stores and comparable stores,” states Gideon.
“Like for like sales is an important element of retail planning. Suppose we didn’t have any new stores, what would the result be like?” says Maud Vermeulen, involved in the project as lead consultant at Sonum International. “A retail budgeting solution should offer the possibility to assign different drivers to include the impact of comparable, non-comparable, new and closed stores in the plan.”
Performance management value chain
Three sister organisations were closely involved in the launch of the new solution for retail planning: Finext, Sonum International and Swap Support. Together they form a Performance Management Value Chain, each with its own specialisation. “Finext focuses on advice and implementation, Sonum International adds international experience and expertise and Swap Support takes responsibility for hosting & support,” says Leon den Braber, project manager at Finext. “The value chain allows us to bring together the best team, regarding roles and expertise, for each situation.”
Both Gideon and Sander are positive about the benefits. “It is a major advantage of these organisations – they have everything in the network to support and serve you.”
“We are very pleased with the maintenance and support services on SAP BPC by Swap Support since 2012,” says Sander about the choice for Finext for the implementation. “A presentation about the possibilities of the planning process really appealed to us. Finext’s approach was very flexible, while the process to come to a new planning solution was well thought out. Each step was taken carefully, with a well prepared blueprint for delivery. That helped us enormously to decrease the lead time of the project.”
“The network of the sister organizations made it easy to quickly connect the necessary specialists,” says Leon. Sander has experienced this differently in the past: “It was hard to communicate with separate parties; everyone kept pointing to someone else. Who solves what? This time it was different; you could call Swap Support, Finext or Sonum at any time and the issue was tackled.” “The collaboration went very well,” Gideon adds. “All three parties are very service orientated and co-ordinate the work it as if it is one party. “
Finished in time for the budget sessions
The planning tool implementation went successfully. “This was a very rapid SAP BPC implementation,” says Maud. “The start-up phase took a while, but at June 28, we had a first detailed design session and we went life before the end of August.” This was necessary in order to be able to use the new retail planning approach for the budget cycle. “So we had two months to complete and deliver the project,” says Leon.
“Sander played a very important role; he was already familiar with SAP BPC and participated in the development of the solution. This was also very important for acceptance and the roll-out of the planning tool within the ASICS organisation.”
“Furthermore, I have never seen such a well organised P&L as ASICS has,” says Maud. “They had already thought about the levels on which ASICS wanted to plan and forecast, which was reflected in the account structure. Hardly any additional mappings were necessary, which saved a lot of time.”
A lot of choices have to be made to implement a new planning solution. For example, which functionality is necessary to support the organization and can the software support these mechanisms? Does it matter whether the store opening date is at the beginning or at the end of a period? And how much start-up cost should be included in which period? These are all functional considerations that need to be realized technically within the solution.”
“Before we were always short of time, now we have time to look at the accuracy of the figures”
“The secret of a good planning model is a system that is as simple as possible for the end user and provides sufficient information about the future using calculations,” says Maud.
Management information based on different dimensions
“It is now much easier to adjust the budget,” says Sander. “Before we were always short on time, now we have time to look at the accuracy of the figures.” “And we can go home on time, without working overtime in weekends,” says Gideon. “Our main objective of process efficiency has been realised.”
ASICS wants to extend the added value and use of the planning solution. “The next step involves enhanced analysis,” says Sander. “We want to be able to look at different store concepts; for instance, full price stores, flagship stores and outlets, where the remaining stock is being sold. And also to our lifestyle brand Onitsuka Tiger. We want to ensure that the management information can be reviewed from different angles – for instance, maturity, concept and territory.”
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