IBM and Sky IT Group are helping fashion and apparel suppliers, such as New York-based Theory, take advantage of consumer trends more intelligently by equipping them with a powerful software as a service (SaaS) offering.
For many years, consumer product companies have relied on manually intensive reporting techniques, such as spreadsheets, that do not automatically update information or combine data from several sources, making it difficult to track sales trends and make business decisions. These methods also have not proven to be cost effective as companies grow their businesses.
Utilizing IBM's DB2 database software and IBM BladeCenter server technology, Sky IT Group has developed SkyPAD, a SaaS-based dashboard for the consumer products industry designed to allow manufacturers, distributors and retailers to view their product sales performance at the store level. It provides statistical, graphical and image views of products sold at retail stores, allowing suppliers and retailers to make production, sales and merchandising decisions based on real-time facts.
SkyPAD brings a huge amount of data together from the user's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, allowing sales executives and merchandisers to "slice and dice" information and make informed production, orders and markdown decisions based on real-time product sales performance. As a SaaS-based offering, it eliminates the cost of purchasing and maintaining an in-house solution for its users.
After integrating SkyPAD in less than four weeks, the apparel company Theory used the Web-based tool to improve the efficiency of running its business. Theory fully linked its ERP data with its retailers' data to better identify marketplace trends. For example, if data indicated that sales of a certain color cardigan steadily increased while sales of another color decreased, the company is able to follow the trend and increase shipments of the more popular color cardigan in a more timely manner.
"Prior to implementing SkyPAD, we had a static service that would be updated only once per week and it wasn't readily accessible by all who needed the information," said Keitaro Shigemasa, chief information officer for Theory. "We now have a much more flexible platform where information sharing has improved, we are able to easily integrate data from retailers with our internal ERP data, and our overall running costs have significantly decreased."
With SkyPAD, merchandisers, sales groups and others are better equipped with information to deal with both customers and retail buyers, and it helps users make more informed decisions on merchandise allocations within customers' retail stores.
"It was our goal to help our customers achieve greater visibility of the supply chain and increase their revenues by efficiently managing their inventory," said Jay Hakami, president and CEO of Sky IT Group. "Through our partnership with IBM, we extended our value proposition for our consumer products customers and help them see greater return on their IT investment."