Marc O’Polo is a Swedish-German fashion label founded in Stockholm in 1967 by Rolf Lind, Göte Huss and Jerry O'Sheets. Since that time, it has focused on the making of premium casual wear and fashion items using natural materials. Company headquarters today are in Stephanskirchen, Germany.
From the start, management recognized the importance of good data and I.T. expertise to a successful multichannel process. The company sought to offer an efficient “click-and-collect” service, whereby customers ordering clothing on the internet could try on items or pick them up at the nearest store. But to make that possible, inventories of all stores had to be recorded centrally.
Looking to eliminate the manual creation, storage and exchange of data, Marc O’Polo acquired OSCA, supply chain management software from Setlog Holding, for its inbound supply chain. The goal was to enable transparency throughout the supply chain, which involves more than 100 suppliers in Eastern Europe, Portugal, Turkey, China and other Asian countries. OSCA allowed the company to simultaneously manage a wide range of tasks among those partners, including:
The debit note module proved to be of particular value. "At the time, it was developed especially for Marc O'Polo," says Setlog board member Ralf Duester. For example, if not enough parts are delivered, arrive too late, or have to be processed, the fashion label can send a message to the respective supplier directly from OSCA, linked to the specific article in question.
"In the module, it’s possible to exchange messages and have customs-relevant items checked by displaying them on the dashboard," Duester explains. OSCA further allowed Marc O’Polo to react faster and more easily to lockdowns during the pandemic.
At the start of the first lockdown in Germany, the supervisory board created a new logistics and I.T. division, appointing chief operating officer Patric Spethmann to head it up. "At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, we had to make new decisions every day — for example, change the mode of transport because ports were suddenly closed," reports Spethmann. "That's when it was very useful to have OSCA as our software, and we therefore were able to react quickly and specifically to changes in the supply chain."
Due to its resiliency and flexibility, the company’s supply chain experienced no major problems during that time, Spethmann says. Warehouse capacity was an issue, however, with the closure of brick-and-mortar stores leaving the distribution center overflowing.
Like all fashion companies, Marc O’Polo faces a multitude of challenges, including the change from push to pull markets, increasing complexity of procurement and sales, internationalization of the brand, and the need for additional value-added services.
But instead of trying to simplify processes of the fashion business, Spethmann sought to master its complexity. That meant addressing the requirements of an omnichannel strategy, finding the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) application, improving returns management, and setting up intralogistics flexibility.
Setlog’s OSCA supply chain management played a key role in achieving some of those goals. “At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis,” Spethmann says, “it was particularly useful that we had OSCA as a software."
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.