Controlling the supply chain demands an accurate forecast
What started as a classic corsetry company in 1886 in Swabia is one of the strongest brandnames today, with products in almost every woman's closet. Their SLOGGI brand is number one in briefs in Europe.
In the early seventies Triumph International already had achieved a rather advanced level of automation within the company. The order-processing department could handle 20,000 orderlines per day, a computerised warehouse, on-line production control, MRP and a highly advanced Financial Information System. Although these solutions were "State of the art" in those days, they were all functionally oriented, only focusing on one specific area. Despite all investments in these solutions, management faced the following challenges:
- Stagnant markets and increasing costs required better service levels, flexibility towards customers, shorter delivery times while at the same time reducing capital tied up in stocks and reducing losses due to "wrong" stocks. "What we have in the warehouse is not what the customers want, and what the customers want we don't have in the warehouse".
- Meeting these demands required strong managerial co-ordination and a breakaway from the traditional functional thinking. In fact it was a cry for Supply Chain Management, before the word was invented. Since Triumph was supplying the consumer market very closely and mainly produced "anonymously", it was obvious this could only be achieved by improving the forecast of future demand. But how to cope with the mix in the assortment?
- Multi-seasonal products in two-dimensional size ranges of which 80% is sold from stock and single-season high fashion products sold on pre-order basis. None of the available forecasting tools were able to handle this complexity. Triumph took the decision to develop their own system that would cover these requirements.
The following points were designated to be key factors for success:
1. More accurate planning by improving the forecast
2. Development of an "Early Warning System" that enables timely reaction to changes in market demand
3. Creation of a system that constantly monitors the market from different angles: regionally from a product point of view and from a customers point of view
4. Improvement of the process of business planning and controlling; including the process of annual budgeting and the monitoring of the budgets.
5. Improvement of customer service by enabling 24 hour deliveries
These were the demands to be met by the future system. Five years later, a team of people from Triumph International and IBM developed the first version of this system that is now referred to as Supply Chain Software. All previously set targets were met by the system. Later versions were developed for the AS400 and as of today all customers are using the Windows version.
With this successful start in the Triumph organisation, management took the decision to market this solution to other companies as well. Today, many other German fashion companies share the benefits of this software solution, including FALKE, Adidas, and Calida.
A group of dedicated scientists, developers, programmers and customers are continually working on the further development of the system. New development like e-commerce, internet and shortening product life cycles are be covered by the latest technology.
Today System A3 is also available outside Germany.
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