With the past year’s unprecedented acceleration in digital business, retailers across the board have faced strong pressure to adapt their operations and transition to a more omnichannel mode of commerce.
In the majority of cases, this has been a do-or-die scenario, with market instability brought on by the pandemic threatening to topple those traditional retailers unprepared to deal with an earthquake in established patterns of demand. Brands without an online presence had little choice but to set up digital shop or risk going completely extinct.
What’s compelling about this scenario is that the cataclysm worked both ways. While certain classes of businesses were in danger of being wiped out due to the advent of Covid-19 and the decimation of their consumer base, other businesses saw unanticipated spikes in demand that only those with robust enterprise systems could respond to. The animal & livestock supply industry is an excellent example of this trend: with folks in lockdown spending more time at home, businesses in this industry were dealt opportunities to scale up operations or risk losing market share to competitors better equipped to meet the moment.
Such was the case for a leading retail company, with its physical stores and a national network of additional services. When demand for their products and services soared as Australia’s lockdowns came into effect, it was their existing program of digital transformation – including their Jedox enterprise performance management platform – that was critical in breaking down planning silos and enabling the monitoring of the overall business performance to respond to the shifting market conditions in real time.
The firm’s “Jedox guru” –The Head of Planning, who leads a team of demand and supply planners and is responsible for both international and domestic stock flow for the business. In overseeing the department’s transition from a web of complex, interlinked Excel spreadsheets through to a single decision-making platform, the Head of Planning has seen a fundamental change to operations that has yielded far more granular information than had ever been available to the retailer before, with the ability to “slice and dice” data in multiple ways to drive far more efficient business performance.
“That’s really given us some great wins,” says the Head of Planning. “Using it as an analytical tool and being able to respond quickly to trends that are changing. We have a stock risk projection, for example, so we look out for the next six months, where we see overstocking or understocking – and that links into our replenishment system and the forecasts that it generates, monitoring lead times and the stock flow into Australia in particular to highlight the risks. So we can take corrective action through lots of different means.”
This leading retailer has been transitioning its internal systems over to an integrated platform since the system was first implemented by the firm’s finance department around six years ago. The system was rolled out to category and merchant planning in early 2018, when it was first implemented in the department’s budgeting and merchandise planning budgeting processes.
“I basically started putting all these replenishment measures in Jedox,” explains the Head of Planning, “and so we had clearer visibility, and then built on that to provide projections and provide forecasts of inventory and stock and so on. We link our information together so it’s at all our departments fingertips to drive better outcomes,” he said.
According to the Head of Planning, our digital evolution has led to managers making smarter decisions, with the firm’s data platform providing the relevant information in plainly accessible formats. By integrating operations and their various source systems into one platform to conduct their reporting, planning and analysis essential to drive sales, demand, and growth, stakeholders in the firm are achieving collaborative decision making in real time, with the ability to connect from anywhere and from any device.
“When the data was hard to get, people were at risk of making ill-informed decisions,” says the Head of Planning. “Now that information is available to everybody. It’s clear, it’s not just one person’s information. It’s actually information for everybody to see and it’s available to everybody who needs it. Driving better outcomes for clients and patients and allowing us to create a more seamless omni customer offering.”