VF Europe specialises in jeanswear, underwear, sportswear and work clothing. Its main brands are Lee, Wrangler, Vanity Fair, JanSport, Eastpak, The North Face, Lee Sport, and Reef. The company’s growing presence on global markets and increased sales volume presented new challenges as it faced a rise in dynamism in the fashion industry. VF now controls up to six collections annually, with product line renewal being continuous.
Increasingly shorter product life cycles translate into the need for constant updating of production processes and supply ratios. It also becomes fundamental to understand exactly what happens at the point of sale, so as to avoid contrasts between “old” and new lines in the shop and to better satisfy the customer, whose tastes and demands are in constant evolution.
Producer attention also shifts to the retail level: it is important to seize, interpret and satisfy ever more rapidly the needs and tastes of the end user. It is with these aims that VF launched the “Jeanswear Retail Partnership Initiative”. This strategic initiative, which includes the Lee, Wrangler and HIS brands of the jeans sector, entails the direct involvement of VF Europe in the management of the spaces (shop-in-shop) inside the points of sale of major European retailers. Previously, VF offered a line to the retailer and it was the store manager who decided which articles were to be presented in the 20sq m store in Berlin, or the new London Lee flagship store in Carnaby Street. Now, VF proposes the shop-in-shop assortments, collaborating with retailers in defining sales objectives. The complexity of the planning is evident: three product lines and hundreds of spaces to manage inside shops spread across several European countries.
As there are different types of locations – assortment planning for a shop in the city centre is different from that for a shop in the suburbs – and different amounts of floor space, they also have different assortment capacities. In support of this complex planning activity, VF adopted TXT Assortment Planning. It selected TXT for its ability to guarantee a facilitated implementation in just a few months and for the ease with which its standard software can be integrated and maintained. The consolidated success of TXT in the industry was also an important factor, together with its capacity to offer a solution covering the entire value chain of the fashion industry, from both the production side and the retailer side.
VF has a very long supply chain, from the shop-in-shop right up to the production plant so the ability of TXT to control and integrate retail and production processes was a key factor in the decision. The TXT Assortment Planning solution, strongly integrated with the JBA ERP system, controls the Wrangler, HIS and Lee jeans lines (12,000 colours and about 150 sizes) in 600 stores across Europe. It is supported by just one central server and was up and running after just three months of implementation. The module functions include:
- Balanced and unique assortment planning for shops to satisfy strategic objectives for both the products and the points of sale.
- Definition of optimum open-to-buy plans.
- Planning inventories and marketing events.
- Constant monitoring, review and updating of in-season and post-season forecasts for both high rotation articles and seasonal campaigns.
The solution, which offers the user 1,250 indicators and 270 screens, allows immediate best-seller and slow-seller identification, assisting VF in deciding promotions, discount policy, clothing/store allocation and special product launches. VF has achieved a double-digit increase in sales and retailer-designated floor space for its collections. The solution has also contributed to reducing stock maintenance costs and end-of-season remainders, and further improving the responsiveness to sales statistics along the entire supply chain.
The satisfaction gained from the results achieved has opened the door to a new project phase, with the implementation of the TXT-Demand Planning forecasting module. VF hopes this will allow for better control of out-of-stocks due to a lack of inventory. Also, the solution will allow better integration of processing functions, correlating forecasting activity with budget allocation.