Imagine a builder without a hammer, a judge without a gavel, or a millennial without a mobile device. It just doesn’t work.
Now think about a disadvantaged athlete competing without the proper gear. Under Armour’s mission — to make all athletes better through passion, design and the relentless pursuit of innovation — is as strong as it was the day former University of Maryland football player Kevin Plank created the first piece of performance enhancing apparel in 1996 from his grandma’s basement.
Customers took notice of Plank’s innovation, a better alternative to the sweat-soaked cotton tee. Just 17 years later, Under Armour is a multi-billion dollar global brand and the maker of the most innovative performance footwear, apparel and accessories in the world.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
And with Under Armour’s great success — total sales were just under US$2 billion last year — comes great challenges, such as unprecedented demand. Whether its customers are shopping in-store or online, Under Armour needs to its products into their hands as fast as possible.
Managing fluctuating supply and demand changes was a stagnant challenge in the past, and allocation reports were only capable of running at night and over the weekend. This limitation prevented the sales operations team from analyzing and reacting in real-time.
So the products were at risk of remaining in a warehouse, rather than being in the store or at the customer’s doorstep.
The Winning Formula
By utilizing sales order allocation and rescheduling with SAP HANA, Under Armour’s allocation jobs are 80 percent faster, and it is able to optimize critical business scenarios. For Jody Giles, Chief Information Officer at Under Armour, it was an ah-ha moment.
|VIDEO: SAP solutions help Under Armour get its products into stores and onto playing fields, instead of being stranded in warehouses.|
“Now I can run my business differently,” Giles said. “I can optimize for revenue; I can optimize for fill rate; I can run different scenarios and [find] opportunities that we didn’t have before.”
These newly found opportunities have led to a 1 percent increase in fill rates. This can save Under Armour up to US$10 million per year, and more importantly, drive its innovations out of the package and onto the playing field.
Weekend Warrior or Professional Athlete?
Under Armour has infused performance apparel, footwear and accessories industries with fresh products and perspectives. But Plank’s vision hasn’t fully blossomed just yet.
“We haven’t made our defining product yet,” is a slogan on the wall that greets Under Armour employees at the company’s Baltimore headquarters. Something tells me that when the time comes, Under Armour will revolutionize the future of sports through wearable technology.
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