Making the Switch: Why Retailers Choose Anaplan for Demand, Finance and Merchandise Planning 

Making the Switch: Why Retailers Choose Anaplan for Demand, Finance and Merchandise Planning 

By Marta Teneva

Making the Switch: Why Retailers Choose Anaplan for Demand, Finance and Merchandise Planning 

By Petya Krasteva

May 7, 2024

Retailers today face a tough set of challenges. From managing stale inventory that eats up shelf space to dealing with the financial hit from excessive markdowns, the pressure is on. Not having enough stock isn’t any better, as it leads to lost sales and unhappy customers. 

To stay ahead in this competitive landscape, retailers need to swiftly turn information into action. This involves aligning the efforts of their teams and fine-tuning their planning strategies. Tools like retail planning platforms are crucial in this effort. As noted by Forrester, these platforms help retailers manage everything from demand to inventory across various products and channels, improving customer service, increasing turnover, and protecting margins. 

In this article, we’ll explore how Anaplan, a leading technology in demand, finance, and merchandise planning, is equipping retailers to streamline their operations and adapt swiftly to market demands. 

You’ll discover success stories from top retailers who have leveraged Anaplan to transform their strategies and achieve remarkable results. 

Table of Contents

Panasonic’s Strategic Shift in Demand Planning with Anaplan 

Enhancing Financial Planning with Anaplan: Super Retail Group’s Transformation 

Merchandise Planning with Anaplan: Nordstrom’s Strategic Transformation 

Boosting Sales Performance: Amer Sports’ Strategic Use of Anaplan 

Enhancing Beauty and Business: L’Oréal’s Transformation with Connected Planning 

Optimizing Omnichannel Operations: Rawlings’ Supply Chain Advances with Anaplan 

Retail Planning with Anaplan FAQs 

Optimize Your Retail Business with Anaplan and B EYE 

Panasonic’s Strategic Shift in Demand Planning with Anaplan 

Anaplan transforms demand planning in retail. By leveraging sophisticated forecasting models and real-time data analytics, retailers can accurately anticipate consumer demand. The platform’s scenario planning capabilities enable businesses to strategize inventory management effectively, reducing stockouts and enhancing customer satisfaction. 

Panasonic North America has long been a household name in electronics, originally known for its consumer products. However, since 2008, the company has predominantly served business customers, who now generate over 95% of its global revenue. Panasonic’s products are integral to various services, from quick-service restaurant kiosks to inflight entertainment. 

Despite its success, Panasonic faced significant challenges within its operational structure. The company is divided into five major product lines, each operating independently with its own demand planning processes. This fragmentation often resulted in inefficiencies, especially when customers wished to purchase multiple products across different divisions. These planning activities were traditionally slow and manual, heavily reliant on spreadsheets and specific institutional knowledge that could be lost if key staff members left. 

The need for a more unified approach became evident when the cumbersome process of handling orders for multiple products from different divisions turned customer opportunities into logistical nightmares. This prompted Manish Airen, Group Manager of Supply Chain Management at Panasonic, and his team to reevaluate their approach to demand planning. 

They started by focusing on the data generated through existing processes. Every customer order and request was a potential insight into improving service and increasing revenue. However, Panasonic was not effectively capturing or utilizing this data, leading to missed opportunities and potential revenue losses as customers turned to competitors for faster or more customized service. 

To address these challenges, Airen explored various data platforms that could integrate and manage data across all divisions without extensive IT involvement. Anaplan emerged as the ideal solution due to its flexibility in handling data imports, exports, and custom model-building for different systems. This flexibility extended to Anaplan’s supply chain capabilities, allowing for tailored models for each division. 

Implementing Anaplan transformed Panasonic’s operations. The company was able to develop new models within weeks, significantly reducing the time required for forecasting. This efficiency gain freed up staff to focus on generating revenue and allowed for quicker training of new employees in model-building, mitigating the impact of turnover. 

See It in Action: Anaplan Pre-Build Demand Planning Software 

Ultimately, Panasonic’s shift to Anaplan enabled more effective management of demand planning processes, reducing costs and more importantly, enhancing their ability to meet customer demands and capitalize on data-driven opportunities. This shift not only streamlined internal processes but also strengthened Panasonic’s market position by making it more responsive and agile in a competitive landscape. 

Download Our Free eBook: Demand Planning in the Age of AI 

Enhancing Financial Planning with Anaplan: Super Retail Group’s Transformation 

Anaplan’s financial planning and analysis tools provide unparalleled precision. Retailers can seamlessly integrate budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting, gaining a comprehensive understanding of their financial health. This enables data-driven decision-making, strategic resource allocation, and effective budget management. 

Super Retail Group, a major Australian retailer with over 600 stores across three divisions, faced significant challenges in its financial planning and budgeting processes. Previously, consolidating planning and budgeting data for the entire group was a labor-intensive task that took months and involved hundreds of people. Issues with version control among spreadsheets added complexity, and it took a week just to ensure data accuracy. 

Recognizing the need for a more efficient approach, Super Retail Group decided to overhaul its financial planning system. The goal was to align finance and operations teams on a single platform to enhance accountability and visibility across departments. Anaplan’s cloud-based system was selected for its quick deployment capabilities and its potential to integrate planning processes across numerous locations. 

Explore Our Finance Analytics and Consulting Services 

The implementation of Anaplan transformed Super Retail Group’s budgeting workflow. The new system streamlined the budgeting process, significantly reducing the time required from several months to just under a month. Calculation speeds improved, and the quality of data was enhanced, resolving previous issues related to data accuracy and version control. 

With Anaplan, the finance team gained the ability to build and modify “what-if” scenarios, which enhanced strategic decision-making. The platform’s flexibility proved to be particularly valuable, allowing for rapid adjustments without the need for extensive consultant involvement, unlike traditional ERP systems. 

As a result, Super Retail Group not only saved time but also improved collaboration within the team. Data is now centralized in one unified location, making it easier for everyone involved to access and work with accurate, up-to-date information. This change has led to better-informed decisions and a more agile financial planning process. 

This transformation is a clear example of how Anaplan can be effectively utilized to streamline complex financial planning and budgeting processes in large retail operations, improving overall efficiency and data quality. 

Merchandise Planning with Anaplan: Nordstrom’s Strategic Transformation 

Effective merchandising is at the core of retail success, and Anaplan provides the tools to excel in this domain. Retailers can streamline assortment planning, align product mixes with market trends, and respond swiftly to changing consumer preferences. This ensures efficient inventory management and a more responsive, customer-centric approach to merchandising. 

Discover Our Anaplan Consulting Services 

Nordstrom Inc., a leading American luxury department store chain with an annual revenue of $14.7 billion, employs over 62,000 people and operates roughly 400 stores. The retailer supports three major selling channels: full-price (Nordstrom), off-price (Nordstrom Rack), and eCommerce. Despite its success, Nordstrom faced significant challenges in supply chain management, particularly with end-to-end inventory flow planning across its fourteen distribution and fulfillment facilities. 

See It in Action: Anaplan Pre-Built Inventory Planning Software 

Initially, Nordstrom’s Anaplan models for supply chain planning lacked depth in procedural best practices, leading to cumbersome processes that were difficult for the workforce to adopt. As a result, the supply chain team often reverted to using Excel, hindering efficiency and the full utilization of Anaplan’s capabilities. 

To address these issues, Spaulding Ridge was brought in to conduct a technical and functional assessment and to develop a transformation framework aimed at improving adoption, agility, and accuracy across Nordstrom’s supply chain. This framework was aligned with current industry best practices for omnichannel supply planning. The new roadmap included advanced Anaplan capabilities to support a connected planning or Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process. 

Download Our Free eBook: Retail Analytics Guide for Executives 

The outcomes of implementing this new strategy were significant: 

  • A 15% increase in warehouse labor utilization across distribution and fulfillment centers due to more accurate inventory projections. 
  • Annual operational expense savings of $3 million, driven by better alignment of labor and inventory volume projections. 
  • A drastic reduction in planning cycle times from one week to just two hours. 

These improvements were supported by API-based integrations with ERP systems, data warehouses, and enhanced merchandising capabilities. Nordstrom now enjoys holistic unit inventory capacity planning, detailed inbound/outbound inventory projections by product type and selling channel, and improved executive reporting capabilities. This transformation has not only streamlined Nordstrom’s supply chain operations but also positioned the retailer to respond more effectively to dynamic market demands and customer needs. 

This success story demonstrates how Nordstrom effectively leveraged Anaplan to overcome its merchandise planning challenges, enhancing operational efficiency and strategic decision-making across its extensive retail network. 

Explore Our Retail Analytics Services 

Boosting Sales Performance: Amer Sports’ Strategic Use of Anaplan 

Anaplan’s sales performance management tools empower retailers to optimize sales strategies. By analyzing sales data and key performance indicators, businesses can enhance revenue streams and align product offerings with customer preferences. This not only drives sales but also elevates the overall customer experience. 

Amer Sports, a global leader in sporting goods with top brands like Arc’teryx, Atomic, Mavic, Salomon, Suunto, and Wilson, faced a major challenge in setting consistent sales targets across its diverse portfolio. The complexity of managing seasonal sales variations across multiple brands and regions required a robust solution to streamline target-setting and compensation planning. 

Previously, Amer Sports relied on cumbersome spreadsheets for sales planning and compensation management, which were inefficient and slow, taking up to seven minutes just to open. These spreadsheets also lacked the capability to ensure data accuracy or to consolidate information effectively across different regions. 

To address these issues, Amer Sports partnered with Anaplan to develop a new sales model. This collaboration led to the creation of the Anaplan for Sales model, which was implemented in less than 40 business days. The model enabled Amer Sports to construct precise sales targets, develop incentive plans, and calculate bonuses for its global salesforce, ensuring that local sales targets aligned seamlessly with global strategic objectives. 

The new Anaplan model transformed Amer Sports’ sales planning process. By automating data compilation from various sources, the time spent on target-setting was reduced by an estimated 70%, cutting down planning processes from a week to less than a day. This efficiency freed up field sales managers to focus more on direct sales activities and customer interactions. 

Moreover, Anaplan’s flexibility allowed Amer Sports to create specialized sales roles tailored to the needs of different markets and products. These roles, including area sales managers and tech reps, were equipped with tailored quotas and compensation plans, facilitating a smoother transition to more focused and effective sales strategies. 

The benefits of implementing Anaplan at Amer Sports included: 

  • Standardized sales targets globally. 
  • Enhanced visibility of sales data across territories, brands, accounts, and seasons. 
  • Utilization of predictive analytics for forecasting compensation earnings. 
  • Realignment of sales roles to support new selling strategies. 

Amer Sports’ success with Anaplan has not only optimized its sales and compensation planning but also established a foundation for future growth and efficiency. The flexibility of the Anaplan platform continues to support Amer Sports as it explores further enhancements, such as developing a territory-planning model. The company’s commitment to setting “demanding but achievable targets” is now more attainable than ever, thanks to the scalable and adaptable capabilities of Anaplan. 

See Our Sales and Marketing Analytics Services 

Enhancing Beauty and Business: L’Oréal’s Transformation with Connected Planning 

Anaplan’s user-friendly interface and real-time collaboration features enable teams to work cohesively, strengthening synchronized efforts across marketing, operations, and finance. This collaboration cultivates a culture of shared goals and collective success. 

L’Oréal, the world-renowned beauty company, has revolutionized its business operations by integrating Anaplan into its sales, finance, operations, and research and innovation teams. Before adopting Anaplan, the company relied on multiple tools and spreadsheets for sales planning, which complicated the processes and made them less efficient. 

You May Also Like: 5 Strategic Advantages of Anaplan for Superior Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 

The shift to Anaplan was driven by the platform’s agility and its ability to adapt to various domains and use cases. This move has significantly streamlined L’Oréal’s planning processes across the business, improving efficiency and flexibility. The Connected Planning strategy implemented by L’Oréal with Anaplan allows for seamless sharing of information across different business processes and units, fostering a more cohesive operational environment. 

One of the key benefits of using Anaplan at L’Oréal has been the creation of a single source of truth for data, which is managed with strong governance. This consistency ensures that both leaders and end-users can trust the information provided, enhancing decision-making and daily operations. The strong partnership between L’Oréal and Anaplan has been crucial in delivering these results with the desired speed and quality. 

Antoine Marechal, Data Programme Director at L’Oréal, emphasized the importance of this integration in their strategy: “Connecting the process in the business with Anaplan makes the overall process much more efficient, much more fluid. It also brings the capacity to share information across different processes and businesses, all leveraging the same source of truth.” 

The successful deployment of Anaplan at L’Oréal has not only streamlined internal processes but also built a foundation for scalable, efficient operations that can adapt to the evolving needs of the global beauty market. This strategic enhancement has enabled L’Oréal to uphold its mission to create beauty that moves the world, supported by robust data and analytics capabilities. 

Keep Exploring: Anaplan’s Audit API: Your Key to Transparent Business Planning and Governance [101 Guide] 

Optimizing Omnichannel Operations: Rawlings’ Supply Chain Advances with Anaplan 

As e-commerce reshapes the retail landscape, Anaplan’s adaptability shines. Its scalable, cloud-based infrastructure enables retailers to seamlessly integrate omnichannel strategies, optimize online platforms, and navigate the challenges posed by digital transformation. 

Rawlings, a renowned manufacturer of baseball and softball equipment and apparel, has significantly improved its supply chain responsiveness and financial outcomes by adopting agile demand and supply planning through Anaplan. The company, established in 1887, has navigated substantial growth and market evolution, doubling its SKU count and increasing revenue by more than 40% through acquisitions, including bat manufacturer Easton. 

The expansion into an omnichannel business model, including direct-to-consumer sales and over 135 retail pro shops, presented new challenges. Rawlings needed to integrate its newly acquired brands and align with its corporate strategy effectively, amid changing consumer behaviors influenced by social media influencers causing sudden demand spikes. 

Rawlings’ previous supply chain technology, over two decades old, was insufficient for today’s fast-paced market. The process was slow and error-prone, taking days to compile reports and hampered by overnight data processing that often contained errors, leaving little time for data analysis or adaptation to market changes. 

Explore Our Supply Chain Analytics and Consulting Services 

Recognizing the need for a more dynamic approach, Ashley Hayes, Director of Sales and Inventory Planning at Rawlings, and her team partnered with Anaplan and consultancy Allitix to overhaul their demand and supply planning. They designed and implemented standardized procedures that streamlined data flow, enabling quicker and more reliable planning. 

The new system was deployed on time and within budget, marking a swift transition that was crucial for Rawlings. The flexibility of Anaplan allowed Rawlings’ team to tweak and optimize their processes continuously, such as adjusting production forecasts in real-time to respond to market trends and demand fluctuations. 

This transformation led to increased forecast accuracy, reduced excess inventory, and enabled the demand team at Rawlings to contribute effectively to the company’s bottom line. Real-time data updates and immediate reporting capabilities provided by Anaplan allowed for rapid adjustments to the supply chain plans without the need for sweeping, time-consuming updates. 

Moreover, the Anaplan platform supported Rawlings in maintaining strong relationships with traditional retail partners while expanding its direct-to-consumer and customized product offerings. This balance helped Rawlings support its traditional channels even as it expanded its omnichannel presence, ensuring inventory was optimally placed to meet diverse customer needs. 

Looking ahead, Hayes is enthusiastic about the control and adaptability that Anaplan offers, allowing her team to make quick alterations that can significantly impact the business. This capability proves essential as Rawlings continues to innovate and respond to the fast-changing sports equipment market, ensuring it remains competitive and responsive to both traditional and new consumer demands. 

Discover More: Anaplan vs. Excel: Why Connected Planning Outshines Spreadsheets 

Retail Planning with Anaplan FAQs 

Optimize Your Retail Business with Anaplan and B EYE 

We’ve shown how Anaplan helps leading retailers smooth out everything from demand forecasting to financial and merchandise planning.  

At B EYE, we take pride in being a premier Anaplan partner, where we blend innovative technology with deep expertise to fine-tune your operations. 

With Anaplan’s advanced AI and real-time insights, your business can stay ahead by quickly adapting to market changes. Ready to boost your operational agility and stay competitive? 

Why not book a chat with our Anaplan experts at B EYE today? Let’s see how we can turn your strategic plans into standout success stories. 

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