Planning (APS)

Advanced Planning and Scheduling Systems, APS, Sales & Operation Planning (S&OP), Finite Capacity Scheduling, Planning, S&OM, Business Intelligence.

French supermarket chain boasts merchandise and assortment planning accuracy across multiple channels

French supermarket chain boasts merchandise and assortment planning accuracy across multiple channels
Company Background
Monoprix, the French supermarket chain, part of the Casino Group, has implemented the TXTPlanning solution to support merchandise and assortment planning on an international scale and across channels.

The €4.3 billion retailer - whose motto “can’t wait for today” transmits the company’s desire to stay close to its customers, every day - operates under the Monoprix, Monop Daily, Monop Beauty, Monop Station and Naturalia brands. Monoprix serves 800,000 customers, offering a wide range of food, fashion, beauty and leisure products. Its 500 stores in France and 85 outlets abroad include different store formats and brands, ranging from stores located downtown and in train stations, to larger, city centre supermarkets. It also has an online shopping site.

The project with TXT revolves around the Fashion, Home and Leisure businesses of Monoprix.

The Challenge
With a growing company, a multichannel approach and thousands of different products to be managed, planning at Monoprix is not an easy task.

“Retailing - and especially so in fashion - requires great agility. It is essential for IT systems and Planning tools to support such a dynamic scenario,” explained Guillaume Delestre, Planning and Optimisation Director at Monoprix.

“Prior to the project with TXT and our efforts to streamline processes, we were challenged by effectively having silos of information. There wasn’t enough synchronization between our various IT systems, and it was difficult to track the flow of information from end-to-end with the risk of duplications and errors with double data entries.”

Monoprix was previously running two different solutions to manage the planning: permanent products on the one hand; and seasonal on the other. There was also little integration with the company’s PLM system, which meant the organization was relying largely on manual processes and spreadsheets. This turned out to be extremely complex and time-consuming for the planning teams.

The Solution
Monoprix started to implement TXTPlanning in 2011: a project called “Valoris”. The aim was to: streamline the IT architecture and information flow; leverage more detailed planning capabilities; and strengthen the integration with its PLM system.

“Before, we had to manually extract information from our PLM system into Excel, but now it’s automated,” added Christine Lanzi, Project Manager at Monoprix.

The PLM system contains product data, designs, technical sheets, measures, and costing information. Costs scenarios are automatically fed into the TXTPlanning solution, which supports the financial merchandise, assortment planning, store allocation, and open-to-buy processes, both pre-season and in-season.

Once allocation plans are validated within TXT, buying quantities are transferred to the transactional systems of the company to generate purchase orders. “Integration with the PLM tool is two-way and seamless. All information that flows among the various systems is streamlined,” added Lanzi.

So far, TXTPlanning has been fully implemented for seasonal fashion products; while the extension to permanent products, as well as to home and leisure, is scheduled for 2015. According to Monoprix, the view is to cover all assortments in one single integrated solution.

Why TXT?
“TXT is a real partner to us, contributing to the project both in terms of its solution, as well as its consulting capabilities,” Delestre said.

TXT was chosen because of its recognized expertise in retail and know-how, developed side by side with many retail players.

“The understanding of our needs and constraints was a key differentiator to us. When you start such a large project, you need to collaborate with a competent partner who’s able to promote the right guidelines and best practices along the way,” Delestre added.

Also, the ease of use of TXTPlanning and Excel user interface was considered as a plus. With over a hundred and fifty people involved, and most of them familiar with using Excel, the choice of TXTPlanning has supported a faster user adoption.

The Benefits and the value of Change Management
According to Monoprix, the implementation of TXTPlanning is generating benefits in terms of accuracy of merchandise planning and assortment planning and tighter integration with PLM.

With Monoprix moving towards more multi-channel formats - including recently implementing a mobile and online shopping solution – the TXT tool is able to show which products are destined for each channel, support simulation and analysis at all levels and dimensions. Before, this would have been done manually, and entered separately.

Other benefits from the project are the rationalization of processes and harmonization of planning practices across the business.

“The synergies between the Monoprix and TXT teams are what’s really contributed to the project’s success; not to mention the considerable efforts towards Project and Change Management,” Delestre added.

From a Project Management standpoint, crucial ingredients were: the ability to balance IT, business and organizational requirements; the tight governance over the project with regular meetings; and the planning of post-deployment evolutions.

From a Change Management point of view, Monoprix ensured the involvement of key operational users, as well as the participation of project managers with real business expertise. Training for 110 staff was put in place, as was a hotline phone number for anyone seeking expert advice on how best to use the new tools.

“In the past, users tended to bypass our systems and produce their own Excel files. Now they go into TXT and they access the right, accurate information throughout the process. We have recorded benefits in terms of accelerated times in the definition of our collections and greater control of the overall process,” concluded Delestre.