Transform Your Supply Chain Planning and Marketing Strategies with Google Cloud and SAP Integration
Our client, a leading player in the beauty industry, operates an impressive portfolio, including two of the largest beauty subscription services globally, an innovative brand incubator, and a popular personal care brand. Their business model involves both subscription-based services and the sales of individual items, catering to a diverse clientele with varied needs.
With a multitude of product offerings, maintaining a detailed and accurate overview of their inventory was absolutely essential.
However, they encountered a substantial hurdle. Their current system did not adequately link their inventory data with the specific quantities of each product required for each unique subscription program. For instance, consider one of their sales initiatives – the monthly beauty subscription boxes. Each box requires a particular set of products in specific quantities to fulfill the customers’ needs. Without a system in place that could align this product requirement data with the existing inventory data, it became increasingly difficult to manage and plan for future boxes.
In essence, if the current inventory data indicated that they had 1000 units of a particular beauty product, but there was no clear linkage with the data showing that 600 units of the same product were required for the upcoming subscription boxes, they were in a blind spot. They wouldn’t know whether the remaining 400 units would be sufficient for other business needs until the subscription boxes were assembled.
Moreover, the inventory management tool they were using proved to be inadequate. This tool, however, was not designed to integrate or communicate with another crucial piece of data – the forecasted product requirements for upcoming periods.
To illustrate, imagine the client is preparing for their monthly beauty subscription box service for the month of July. They need to know how many units of each product they need to include in these boxes.
Now, let’s say their current inventory shows that they have 500 units of a certain product in stock. But their forecast shows that they will need 300 units of the same product for the July subscription boxes, and they anticipate a demand of another 300 units for their online store sales.
Ideally, their inventory management tool should be able to integrate this forecasted demand data and alert them that they will fall short by 100 units. However, because the tool was not designed to integrate with the forecasted product requirements, this critical piece of information would be missed.
The inventory management tool was also not able to segregate the BOM (Bill Of Materials) that make up the subscription boxes from individual product sales. Thereby making it difficult to know the current stock levels at each location. In addition, the incoming Purchase Orders were not integrated with the Inventory Management system, thereby making it a manual process to reconcile the data.
Consequently, the client would face difficulties predicting their future inventory needs accurately, potentially resulting in stockouts. Likewise, without an understanding of upcoming demand, managing their current stock levels would also prove to be challenging, leading to inefficiencies and missed sales opportunities.
This disjointed data scenario created a substantial gap in the client’s inventory visibility, leading to several issues:
Compounding these problems, the client’s heavy dependence on spreadsheets for planning brought its own set of challenges:
Pluto7 addressed these gaps by connecting the data from various processes and unifying them to give the complete picture of current stock levels.
Our client had a clear set of objectives they wished to accomplish to overcome their inventory management challenges. These included:
In response to these objectives, Pluto7 employed a two-pronged approach. Firstly, they worked to integrate data from various sources into a common database. Secondly, they developed a sophisticated inventory planning tool to make full use of the integrated data.
Pluto7 started by gathering data from the various spreadsheets used by the client and moving them into a single, central location in Google Cloud. This first step marked a shift from the client’s previous disjointed system, setting the stage for more advanced, integrated analytics.
As part of this process, several key components were used:
Once the data was successfully integrated in BigQuery, Pluto7 then turned their attention to developing the advanced planning tool that the client needed. This tool was designed to provide visibility across all SKUs and helped them to plan and manage both current and future orders.
The tool was hosted on Google’s App Engine, a platform for developing and hosting web applications at scale. Data updates were managed using Google Sheets, providing an easy way for the client to interact with the tool and maintain the accuracy of their data.
To display the information in an easily consumable format, a custom application was built on Looker, Google Cloud’s business intelligence platform. This allowed the client to visualize their inventory levels in real-time, a significant upgrade from the snapshot-based planning they had been using previously.
The integration of Pluto7’s data platform solution drastically reshaped the client’s inventory management approach, leading to an evolution in their decision-making process.
Key results of this transformation included:
The newly implemented platform brings together world-class innovation and decision intelligence, transforming the client’s enterprise data into a powerful strategic asset. They now have access to real-time inventory data, accurate demand forecasting, secure data storage, and advanced analytics, that are equipping them to navigate the current market intricacies and also to foresee future challenges.
In the retail world, being proactive and swift is essential. Understanding consumer trends and behaviors is paramount, as these insights drive the strategic decisions that propel a company forward. Agility is crucial, as the landscape can shift abruptly, and companies must be equipped to pivot efficiently. Reducing and optimizing inventory costs is a key component of this agility, as it’s essential to maintain a dynamic inventory that can accommodate sudden spikes or falls in demand.
The journey with Pluto7 has equipped the client to meet these needs head-on, driving them from a reactive to a proactive state, swapping decision bottlenecks with data-empowered decision intelligence, and trading excess inventory for an optimized, dynamic stock system. This strategic shift paves the way for a future where data not only fuels decision-making but also infuses efficiency and intelligence into every facet of their business.
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