Secrets of SAP success in the Apparel & Footwear industry

By Jorge Ruiz on February 13, 2015

2014 was a busy year for sports clothing and accessories companies. With heavy competition and spectacular bid battles to sign sport stars often making the headlines, it’s no surprise that these global companies spent hundreds of millions of dollars. Trail runner in summer nature tying sport shoes

The critical business need for sports clothing and accessories companies is driven by consumer tastes and fashions which, away from the spotlight, depend on rapid product creation and getting those products to market fast in order to effectively compete with each other. So, the secret to success is highly optimized product creation and sales distribution business processes which accelerate time-to-market.

When looking at trends in consumer products and in particular, apparel and footwear, we see that the highest levels of Winshuttle activity over the last two years was in Sales Distribution (SD) related business processes (think “order to cash”) with over 13M SAP records processed by more than 100 companies.

However, Material Management (MM), or accelerating products to market, leapt ahead of SD in 2014 with close to 10M records processed in 2014 alone by over 110 companies in the apparel and footwear industry.

Reducing time-to-market

After drilling further into the various different companies, we noticed that there was an anomaly with one of the biggest companies. When looking at their Sales Distribution and Material Management activity, there was a noticeable lack of these transactions in 2014, but a substantial amount of financial transactions. Also this company actually lost market positioning in the US for the first time in many years to another big leader in the industry.

What could have led to this is that the culture and overall business drivers might be led by a highly optimized finance department.  However, by not leveraging Winshuttle for their Material Management and Sales Distribution processes, it seems this company missed an opportunity to get products to market faster, meeting market demands and generating additional revenues.

The company that took its place in the market standings experienced a 20% sales growth in 2014. It is interesting to note that they have been using Winshuttle for less than two years and have focused their efforts on optimizing their key material management and sales distribution processes.

Their highest volume of records processed were pricing creation and maintenance (VK11 and VK12) as well as maintaining the vendor condition record (MEK1) for purchasing..

They have reduced manual data entry by 80% in their product creation process and they have found the biggest benefits in the follow-up transactions, which link the material creation process to specific vendors so that they can determine lead times for its products. A process that used to require one person to spend three days entering data and now it takes 10 minutes.

Interested in learning how you can optimize your SAP data operations?

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