• Neil Doyle

Anaplan - Retail Planning at The Ritz

I was lucky enough to spend the morning with a number of high profile retailers at The Ritz this week as we explored the benefits of Anaplan in their sector and guests had the opportunity to hear from early adopters Go Outdoors on how they have championed Anaplan across a number of use cases within their organisation. After the success of the session I thought it worthwhile to summarise the key highlights of our headline ‘Why Anaplan for the Retail sector’.

Firstly what is the Anaplan approach, well it takes the ease of a spreadsheet, the scalability of enterprise software & the connectivity of the cloud to tackle all and any modelling challenges within your organisation. Traditional planning systems were built for an old corporate model and as a result lack flexibility & collaboration. To compensate, excel has become the “shadow” system of planning. But, as the world of business becomes more connected, complex and dynamic, this work-around is causing more problems than it is solving. Anaplan lets Business Users across your organizations from HR to Marketing to IT to Operations to Sales to Finance connect key planning processes on a common platform.

And why specifically for the Retailers…..

We can handle the scale – when I think of retail planning I can’t help recalling a common saying “the RIGHT product, in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time, and in the appropriate quantity”. It’s simple right, if you look at a single product, a single location and a single time period in isolation you could plan on the back of a notepad. A unit buy, buying price, selling price, margin, sell through, stock balance. The challenge for modern retailers is how to accurately consolidate and plan against 100+ regions, 100+ stores, 100+ product categories and a daily or weekly timescale. Excel tries to be the glue, the shadow planning tool but it simply cannot handle these data volumes in row / column relationships therefore we lose trust in our numbers.

We meet the modelling challenges – our plans are normally prepared in silo and misaligned to top level expectations. Can offline sources offer strategic plans and trickle down to geographies, to regions and then to locations. Perhaps, but it’s usually resource intensive and ‘what if’ top level wants to tweak performance by x%. How does that effect the bottom up, what has changed, why has it changed, when does it change. ‘What if’ we want to open 30 new stores, close 10 stores, remodel 5 stores, look at ramp-up & run-down, how do we alter seasonality of LFL, plan seasonal promotions & discounts?!? It seems decisions are being made far from the point of impact because it’s simply not attainable to get real time analysis to detect early signals.

We deliver for the business – Traditional planning processes are slow, soiled, misaligned, untrustworthy, resource intensive and lack audit & control. Anaplan is a self-service platform, business users can update calculations and see results in real time without any IT support. Not only can Anaplan be used to model anything, you can connect those models across your enterprise, so you can plan, collaborate and act based on plans. It has enabled companies across the globe to solve key challenges across their organisations from sales to finance to operations and more. We have built a number of live models across the retail sector from Store Planning to Buy & Range Planning, Trade & Promotion, Product Category Planning, Workforce Planning, Merchandise Planning, Sales & Operations, Lease Revenue Planning and these accelerators are readily available to download at a click of a button from the App Hub. Something we haven’t seen from any other vendor in enterprise software.

The retail sector in particular is such a fast paced and dynamic environment that we need our data to keep up with our evolving circumstances. We need to gather the RIGHT data as evidence to support the next step and draw data based conclusions.

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