Fashion Edge, a wholesale distributor of high end fashion and footwear has integrated with SAP Business One to improve supply chain management. Fashion Edge is based in the UK and Ireland. The company says it has improved the visibility of shipping data from its supplier and improved its supply chain management efficiencies. This was achieved by deploying a Business Process Automation (BPA) Platform to integrate SAP Business One with three external business systems and then automated the transfer of SKU data, reports and dispatch notices. Fashion Edge has also used BPA Platform to automate the creation of good receipts, POs and invoices. The project implementation was supported by Codeless Platforms.
Fashion Edge sells branded fashion and footwear throughout the UK to customers such as ASOS, John Lewis, and Office. It also sells to other major high street chains, as well as a wide range of small independent shops. However, some of its products are sourced from a supplier base in Spain.
Supply chain challenge
“We do all the selling and servicing in the UK, but some of our supplier’s factories and warehouses are based in Spain. They are responsible for drop shipping, so all of our products are dispatched directly from Spain,” explained Wenjun Chen, Commercial Director, Fashion Edge.
The challenge that Fashion Edge had was its ability to control its supplier’s processes. In addition to the importation of data from the supplier into its SAP Business One ERP system. Especially as the supplier has a head office system, production system and a separate warehousing system.
“We didn’t really have the visibility of what was going on. We rely on them to ship to our clients in the UK accurately. However, we need to check those shipments and check what has been sent and invoice them accordingly. That was our main challenge. We had to log into their internal systems to get what we required. However, it wasn’t particularly accurate, so we were looking for a solution that could manage this process more efficiently,” said Wenjun Chen.
Selecting the BPA solution
Having discussed the situation with its IT provider, Fashion Edge decided to use BPA Platform to achieve this. Firstly, to provide the integration between SAP Business One and the supplier’s systems. Secondly to automate the transfer of SKU data between the systems.
A BPA Platform is an iPaaS Platform that enables cloud-based, on-premises systems and cloud to cloud applications to talk to each other. This should enable seamless system integration and business process automation capability.
“We are now semi in sync with our supplier, so we don’t have to chase them nonstop for reports, dispatch notices etc. Whatever they generate on their system, as long as they send us that report, it enables us to create the information we need in SAP Business One, providing us with better visibility. It also eliminates the manual, repeated tasks, such as creating good receipts, POs and invoices. The whole process is a lot more reliable now,” revealed Wenjun Chen.
“We are creating SKUs using the import method, as well as importing supplier information using the import method. It just enables us to just to speed up, work more efficiently and save a lot of business hours. We are now using those hours to focus on areas which are more difficult to standardise or automate.”
Although the project has only been up and running for three months, Fashion Edge is already seeing the benefits of deploying BPA Platform.
“The big advantage of BPA Platform is that it is much more visual. It’s like a mind map. It tells you the process, how it should happen and when it should happen. If you notice any mistakes, you can easily edit and insert the correct date or the right information. I think that flexibility is quite amazing. In this respect, I think BPA Platform provides you with a greater understanding of the business. You can get a better overview of the business and how everything’s operating and running.”
“Once you fully understand BPA Platform, it’s a really powerful tool. You can do many, many things with it. Processes can be standardised, and more repetitive processes can be automated, enabling you to spend more time prioritising on those areas of the business that need it.”
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
For any modern enterprise, particularly in retail and fashion, to survive and thrive in today’s competitive market entails having access to data. Wenjun Chen has illustrated three key trends taking place in enterprise technology. The beauty of automating business processes that previously was manual, cumbersome and time-consuming. Secondly, the importance of having access to data in a unified environment. Lastly, the importance of reporting and analytics which is useful and relevant to the business operations management. Fashion Edge say the implementation has improved visibility of its shipping data from its suppliers and improved its supply chain management.