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- What if we plan the season?
During my visit to an important retailer in the Middle East I finally learned the meaning of the word ‘Planning’ in the fashion business. Mostly related to the Merchandise planning and how this relates to the Season Calendar, Visual Merchandise and Store design.
In fashion there are two concepts driving merchandise planning:
• Demand planned for a relatively short period of time
• Continuous introductions of new products, making existing products obsolete
Season Planning and time drops
There are many concepts behind this, the following is an example:
1. How many options or styles will present this season (option planning) and how much budget is allocated in order to track during the design and logistic process?
2. Can we track what is being delivered each season drop?
3. Is a head of designer or line manager able to track performance and milestones set up for the season?
4. How can I track sales / expenditure budget during the season?
In order to get things right let’s begin with setting up what we need:
Each season managers set a budget in number of options to be designed and also the dollar amount as a sales / expenditure target.
Collections / Brands
This main budget is then divided in Collections, brands. This segment would be a group of options / styles targeting the same customer type, such as girls’
Man / Women, are simple examples how a collection or brand is segmented to Themes or moods. Each season merchandisers set different moods. These are basic seasonal concepts whre all designers are inspired to start getting style options being designed.
Design Teams and team leader
Designers are set up as teams. With only one team leader. Performance is measured against a team Drops.
Drops are almost the same as shipping windows. We cannot present all styles at the beginning of a season. So we divide the season in at least two drops. So dates need to be tracked specifically to meet milestones.
Each buyer manages several merchandise categories (e.g., sportswear, bottoms, tops, outerwear categories), is an assortment of items that customers see as substitutes for each other. We need to understand what how the planning for each theme and drop is allocated on each product group or category.
In order to track season expenditures using the accounting budget at sku level usually expense and inventory accounts are defined at item group levels.
How SAP Business One for the Apparel & Footwear industry can help you in this process.
In other postings we denote the importance of having all departments integrated with a single solution. First plan the assortment for a season based on product categories, going to tracking the status of pre-season activities, to the financial budget and open to buy report.
A budget is assigned to an opening season. We setup the number of options to present as an overall planning and also the amount. Remember…no planning means not measuring performance.
Then we split the season amount into collections and themes. Each them has several drops (usually 2 to 3 drops).