Tom Tailor Holding AG is a "lifestyle" apparel company with around 6,000 points of sale, including more than 200 owned stores. It releases 12 collections a year, in 10 divisions devoted to men's and women's casual wear. The merchandiser was in search of new information systems that could provide it with visibility transparency and control systems for inventory.
Hearing of Tom Tailor's need, supply-chain management software vendor Setlog Corp. approached the company, meeting with its management at the head office in Hamburg, Germany. Setlog president Ralf Duester had an extensive background in the apparel industry, with his current firm as well as other companies.
Tom Tailor didn't find implementation to be an especially complicated procedure, says director of supply chain management Carsten Schmelting. The company talked to multiple departments, carefully documenting key business processes in order to determine best practices within the organization. It also met with logistics service providers, settling in the end on a stand-alone application from Setlog. Implementation took between six and seven months, he says.
That was longer than the three to four months that are usually required, Duester notes, primarily because Tom Tailor had just installed a new enterprise resource planning system and had to wait for the required data. Schmelting said the company had no concerns about integrating the systems.
One lesson learned by Tom Tailor in the process was the realization that implementation never really ends. "There are always new suppliers to connect, new stuff and ideas," says Schmelting. "We're always finding new things to optimize."
The initiative was well worth the effort, he says. "I can't imagine going to work without such a tool." Previously, Tom Tailor had to convince internal staff of the right moves to make.
"Now," says Schmelting, "nobody can imagine life without it." Tom Tailor manages 100 percent of orders through the system, achieving high levels of productivity and realizing significant economies of scale. Partial shipments, divided into multiple colors, fabrics or designs, are easy to manage, he says.
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