Integrated Retail Planning
In today’s consumer-driven marketplace, the quality of a company’s supply chain is often times directly linked to the company’s brand and image. Poor visibility of the supply chain will quickly hamper an organization’s attempts to identify and resolve product issues.
The Situation Today
While integrated supply chain planning has resulted in many bottom-line benefits, it has simultaneously increased the level of complexity and uncertainty by which companies operate today. Retail companies now face a host of new business challenges – such as increased service level demand from customers, shorter product lifecycles and global competition with cost pressure – and their position in the market is being defined by their responsiveness to these challenges.
To address this increased level of variability, retailers must have the capability to synchronize their retail level planning (merchandise and assortment planning down to the shelf level) to that of their supply chain planning (demand and supply planning).
The lack of integration between planners frequently results in inconsistent decisions as merchandisers, demand planners, supply planners attempt to optimize the business without the capability to evaluate the impact to other departments or the total business.
Integrated Retail Planning (IRP) framework transforms the traditional supply and demand balancing exercise into an integrated business planning process that aligns a retail company’s supply chain plan merchandise plan with its long-term business strategies and financial objectives.
IRP, with its open-source architecture means that integration is far easier and cheaper to manage today. Retailer can pick and choose applications from many different vendors, integrate them through IRP integration services and have the suite they always wanted in weeks, not months or years. IRP has made it financially and operationally viable for a company to pick the world’s best application for every need, every user, and every business case. Retailers no longer have to sacrifice functionality for the sake of integration.
The features that Integrated Retail Planning offers retailers are:
- Consolidated view for all stakeholders:
Each stakeholder needs the ability to view the time-phased plan in the language and hierarchy level respective to that individual’s role in the organization
- Integration of planning systems:
Retailers are handling issues for integrating best-of- breed planning applications. It is difficult to club applications which are designed on different platform with diverse vision of product suits. Retailer can choose best-of-breed application without worrying about integration.
- Visibility into all planning functions:
Retail companies need insight into company-wide planning activities, as well as the plans of their channel business partners. With this insight, retailers can better predict the demand for products sold through any channel, at any location, to any demographic. Retail companies can then leverage this information to improve their supply chain and merchandising systems, as well as create statistical, scientific forecasts that provide the best prediction of what will happen with their categories and items over an extended period of time.
An integrated solution that provides management with a more holistic view of the business, and is capable of evaluating the data from multiple perspectives, can significantly improve the Retail Planning process. For the companies that desire choice, flexibility and freedom to create their own suite of best-in-class technologies from multiple vendors, IRP finds a premium spot. The benefits that Integrated Retail Planning offers can be clubbed in the following:
- Improved integrated planning
- Robust integrated solution with flexibility to bolt-on best-of-breed applications (JDA, SAP, Oracle)
- Coordinated new product plans, lifecycle planning
- Coordinated promotions, demand-shaping programs
- Product assortment tailored to both the consumer’s demand and the retailer’s strategy
- Optimized price and markdowns for Sales and margin growth
- Better asset utilization
- Significant time resource saving in integration efforts.
- High Visibility to the Individual Store SKU level increases the scale of operation
- Improved stock-turns and freshness in store
- Improved Customer experience