Fashion retailer cuts overnight processing while delivering accurate and timely intelligence

Eliminates

error-prone manual data entry

Delivers

accurate and timely Business Intelligence

Company Overview

French Connection Group is a global retailer and wholesaler of fashion clothing, accessories, and homewares. Based in the UK, the company distributes its products globally through its own branded stores as well as through franchise and wholesale retailers in more than 50 countries. The company is committed to offering affordable quality and a premium experience, ensuring that the customer is at the heart of the business.

Business Challenge

To remain competitive, the French Connection Group needed accurate, up-to-date business intelligence to provide dynamic information on inventory movement and margins. French Connection had been relying on a manual, error-prone processes to support retail service and business intelligence. Every day, each retail outlet transmitted large amounts of data on sales, inventory, and other critical business details to the main datastore in the headquarter offices. There, two people waited for this information and compiled it into a paper “run sheet” for the day.

Working overnight from 6 PM to 6 AM, these individuals used a manual, error-prone process to gather, collate, and compare data from their point-of-sale systems into their SAP® ERP environment. If they encountered any problems, the whole process stopped, which could mean late night calls to management. At the end of the next day, the process started all over again. Every week, the company would use this data to produce a master report on sales and inventory movement. Because this report was extremely important for management at every level, it needed to be accurate and on time.

Solution

French Connection selected Redwood to automate its overnight processing. However, what started as a way to simplify everyday data entry tasks became an opportunity for the company to develop a whole new way of managing and automating critical business processes.

First, the retailer streamlined weekend reporting by automating the detection of incoming store data. This new process eliminated manual activity and intervention. Redwood easily integrated with both French Connection’s SAP ERP and their custom-developed solutions. With this new level of integration, if something unusual happened during an overnight reporting process, an immediate fix or workaround could keep the overall process running. The retailer could also set up email alerts. Now, every step in the process is connected – from warehouse to point-of-sale. Today, Redwood provides French Connection with the control, visibility, and agility they need to work consistently across the globe. Management receives reports several times a day and are more informed about the entire business.

Results

Redwood Business Process Automation has eliminated the need for employees to manually monitor and gather data nightly. The reporting process and data is automatically transferred at point-of-sale. French Connection now finds it easy to change and adapt to any issues that arise. The relationship between business and IT has been transformed to a collaborative effort while business processes are now defined and clear to all key stakeholders. The retailer has a more detailed and accurate view of what’s selling and how its inventory is performing – with less effort. As a result, savings in time, money and resources helps support investing in an IT help desk.

Our project with Redwood paid for itself. It gave us tremendous flexibility and adaptability. We found ourselves telling our business users 'We can do that.' " Hazel Cawood, Business Systems Analyst, French Connection

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