APP Group is buying Infor Retail CloudSuite as it continues to improve the technology supporting its two key brands Mackage and SOIA & KYO. APP Group will implement modules from the Infor Retail portfolio including Infor CloudSuite Fashion, Infor Demand Planner, Infor Nexus, and Birst analytics. One module missed off the list is the newly announced Infor Price Management solution.
The press release states that APP Group will consolidate their existing ERP solutions onto the Infor CloudSuite Fashion. However, whether that will also include Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is not mentioned. It would be odd if it did. APP Group only recently selected Centric 8 PLM.
One of the advantages of the Infor solution suites is that it is built on the Infor platform. This uses Infor Ion, its scalable middleware framework. It enables Infor to create connections not just between its own products but also to other vendor solutions. This makes integration easier for customers looking at a two tier ERP architecture and when customers select third party solutions. Centric 8 is Centric Software’s flagship PLM software that assists companies digitally transform. According to its site, it has 952 fashion companies alone using its software.
Demet Ozdemir, Vice-President Production and Sourcing at APP Group commented: “Centric PLM is a user-friendly tool that will help facilitate communication across different time zones and languages and will also tie into our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. It will centralize shareable data and complete the full product lifecycle workflow.”
Meeting the supply chain challenge
One of the reasons APP Group appears to have selected Infor is for the benefits it delivers to its supply chain operations. Infor Nexus will deliver visibility across both the APP Group supplier network and its routes to market. APP Group is looking to expand and the ability to see where goods are across all of its selling channels including wholesale, stores and ecommerce is critical.
Both of its outerwear brands find demands flex due to changing seasons and weather patterns. While the first is easier to predict the second is less so. Infor Nexis delivers the visibility and ability to flex supply as demand changes across the globe. It means that shipments can be rerouted sooner than might otherwise be possible to meet a shortfall in different locations.
Corey Tollefson, senior vice president and general manager, Infor Retail commented: “Infor’s Retail solutions help organizations better manage inventory on the world’s largest commerce network. We are excited to partner with APP Group to help the organization through its transformation of their digital supply chain.
“Infor’s retail-specific solutions will provide APP Group with the agility and best practice capabilities needed to thrive in a competitive luxury fashion industry. With Infor, APP Group has the tools to streamline day-to-day business, and our innovative tools provide them with the visibility and capability to manage their supply chain globally.”
Meeting the challenge of growth
APP clearly has ambitions for growth. Both of its brands are expanding rapidly. Mackage was launched in 1999 and is now sold in over twenty countries on three continents. It has also opened flagship stores in New York City, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. SOIA & KYO opened its first store in 2018 in Mississauga’s Square One shopping centre.
It has now put in place the technology for further expansion internationally. Traditionally focused on using the wholesale channel, its growing ecommerce and retail outlet channels add additional levels of complexity. Spreadsheets and point applications were no longer up to the task. It will need to continue carefully balancing its multichannel approach so it doesn’t cannibalise other streams. The Infor solutions should help to manage this through greater visibility
Donna Lisk, Chief Financial Officer, APP Group commented: “As our business rapidly expands, APP Group needs to have a modernized IT foundation to grow and scale effectively. Our investment in Infor’s ERP and supply chain solutions will help provide the transformation our organization needs to drive agility, improve our time to market for new products and expand globally”.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
As APP Group is a private company it shares little of its financial information or strategic direction. It does appear though that it is investing heavily in its technology footprint and preparing for further growth. One indication of that is the number and job roles of apparent new hires at the company on LinkedIn.
While few may have heard of these Canadian Fashion brands that may change as it accelerates its growth. Growth should be simpler through the investment in both Centric 8 PLM and the Infor Retail solutions. Once implemented, it will be interesting to see how the whole architecture knits together. If the deployment is successful, and APP Group expansion plans are realised, this could become a blueprint for others.