Multi-brand Assortment Planning and Reporting

Managed the design and delivery of a cross-brand assortment planning and analytics project for a national women's apparel and accessories multi-brand retailer with over 1,500 stores. Built the data-integration across ERP, PLM, planning and BI, and built pixel perfect, what-if enabled Excel reporting using Oracle BI Publisher.

Women's Fashion,
Apparel and Accessories
Program and Project Management,
BI and Reporting,
Systems Integration
Oracle RPAS,
Oracle BI Publisher
Business Impact
On time and under budget delivery of a cross-brand assortment planning tool with highly flexible, on-demand reporting.

A multi-brand retailer of women’s fashion and accessories was looking to re-engineer and implement cross-brand assortment planning and reporting using Oracle’s retail planning (RPAS) and BI (BIP) platforms. The system was to support 120+ planners and merchants in hind-sighting and planning style-colors for their three very disparate brands; an online-only, fast-fashion brand with 100% market sourcing, an online and stores suburban brand, and a rural brand with more than a 1,000 stores selling mostly in-house designs.

The retailer wanted to develop a consistent assortment process and system across the enterprise that would maximize the uniqueness and potential of each brand, but also enable transferability of skills across the brands.

As they moved away from their Excel based processes, the retailer was looking to gain efficiency, accuracy and focus to build better assortments and improve buy quantification. Goal was to improve strategic target setting and assortment architecture via better leverage of strategic product attributes, optimize assortments with more sophisticated localization strategies based on store attributes and improved store clustering, and to eliminate duplicate data entry for item master setup, initial PO creation and reporting.

The new system was to integrate seamlessly with their Oracle retail ERP for loading actuals and for creating vendor POs, with their PLM system to enable collaboration between planning, product design and sourcing, and with their reporting suite for flexible and efficient hind-sighting, strategy analysis, target setting and actuals-vs-plan reporting.

A boutique retail management and IT consulting firm teamed up with GSynergy to provide the retailer with a highly experienced business and IT team to lead the process redesign, and implement Oracle Retail Planning and Oracle BI, and to integrate the systems.

The boutique consulting firm provided two senior management consultants to do the business process and functional design for assortment planning, two senior engineers to configure the front-end and the back of Oracle Retail Planning, and one senior engineer to design the data movement between the systems.

GSynergy provided a highly experienced retail systems project leader to manage the entire team and project, an integration engineer to code all the ETL between the four software systems, and a highly skilled BI engineer to build the reporting warehouse and all the reports.

The business team led the process re-design business leadership and user reps from all three brands over a period of seven weeks, followed by a five weeks functional design. Delivery of the assortment planning functionality was broken up in two phases to deliver value early, with target setting and hind-sighting in the first phase and wedge-building and actual-vs-plans reporting in the second. Reporting was delivered on a more continuous, agile schedule to deliver some value on an on-going basis to help with adoption, acceptance, and change management.

The tech team worked closely with the IT team of the retailer to help them spec out and procure appropriate hardware that would scale with the company’s needs, and to help them setup a granularly controlled data-movement batch that minimized duplication of ETL activities between the new and existing systems.

The project was delivered within budget and in alignment with the evolving needs of the business. A user-inclusive, agile design-develop-demo-try process helped users re-evaluate their initial biases and re-engineer their processes and the tool, during the course of the project, to improve efficiency and accuracy. The highly performant tool that allowed for multi-grained, multi-lever planning was adopted across all brands soon after release.

Pixel perfect, what-if capable Excel reports, dynamically structured based on user specified hierarchies, and generated in a matter of seconds, allowed the users to efficiently optimize assortment strategies based on planning levers, product and store attributes, and store clusters.

The retailer was able to achieve their goals from the new assortment planning and reporting system and achieve high levels of user adoption.