• Cathal Doyle

App Series: #1 Buyers vs. Merchandisers - promote collaboration with Bedford’s latest App release “R

The range plan is a very valuable tool for retailers to have visibility of the next seasons’ range, and what it will deliver in terms of margin performance, before of course you commit your orders to your suppliers. With your range plan you can plan the outline structure of your range – the SKU count by Category, the number of options, the target price points. As you move closer to range launch you can add anticipated weekly rates of sale to the plan and determine initial order quantities. This will really help you to plan your stock quantities, cash flow and supplier commitments.

The ultimate aim is for the final range selected to meet and exceed the customers’ expectations. The planning process typically involves buying and merchandising teams working side by side but often with somewhat opposing objectives…buyers will want the range to be innovative and to really shout the brand values whilst merchandisers will want it to achieve high rates of sale and deliver excellent margin. The happy medium is found by early and often sight of the planning processes by both parties which is often prohibitive with offline toolsets.

With such criticality to the business and a dependency on such a wide set of data, a quality merchandise plan / range plan with adequate roll up and drill down capability can really only be delivered from a quality tool, offering end to end transparency between Buyers and Merchandisers. With this app users can trace data points from initial Range Planning, to Buy Sheets through to Actual comparisons at the click of a button rather than trawling through outdated spreadsheet beasts no longer fit for purpose.

Key application concepts:

  1. Review – The review process consists of two separate activities. Firstly we carry out a Pre-Season Review of performance history to identify opportunities and problems. Secondly we "normalise" it. Normalisation is the process of looking at history and ironing out the "bumps" to make it useful as a basis for planning;

  2. Strategic Plan – A high level plan normally used to set the critical success factors for merchandising in terms of sales, margins & stock;

  3. Range Plan (Category Level Margin Plan) – a detailed look at the Strategic Plan split into channel/categories and sales phases. This category level plan will form the basis for the Buy Plan;

  4. Buy Plan – developing the goals of the Merchandise Plan into specific lines or SKU’s. We can now analyse margin mix by line, what if cost price fluctuates. Utilising “Sell Through” and “Discount” percentages this flexible driver based solution will also allow us to generate a weekly phased forecast of sales, stock and intake, something which is often overlooked with traditional solutions due to time constraints.

  5. KPI’s – track performance metrics of the Strategic Plan to the Range Plan to see how objectives are aligning as the planning process evolves from the ground up.

This out of the box application allows you to translate a Strategic Plan into a Tactical Plan and deliver on planning expectations. This is how planning should be done!

Available for download from the Anaplan App Hub 3rd June. Sign up to the App Hub today. The future of Planning!