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On May 3-4, the International User Forum for SAP Forecasting and Replenishment 2018 took place in Wiesbaden. For the second time this event was combined with the SAP Forum for Retail & Wholesale – two days to listen and discuss, exchange and learn about new trends such as machine learning, digital transformation, smart commerce, the intelligent enterprise and of course relevant forecasting and replenishment information – such as SAP roadmap and recent enhancements.

Roundabout 100 retailers and partners from 20 countries all over the world and from different retail segments attended the event and were listening attentively during the two days times – sometimes even more participants joining from the German Retail Forum. Lively discussions in breaks and during the evening event at the beautifully renovated castle ‘Jagdschloss Platte’ showed how important information exchange is – not only between SAP and customers, but also amongst the customer community.

One of the highlights of the event were certainly the customer presentations that were given about SAP Forecasting and Replenishment experiences and plans.

Wilko, a general merchandise retailer from the UK, talked about their impressive multi-echelon optimization project and how they plan meanwhile 99 % of their assortment automatically. Pick and Pay from South Africa explained the benefits they achieved with their recent migration to SAP HANA. Elkjop, a major electronics retailer in the Nordics, revealed their secret of combining quality and speed in their F&R project roll-out – 3 months for all stores. Maxima group, a Baltics grocery retailer, talked about their recent Fresh add-on implementation and how it improved store users trust. Co-innovation between customers and SAP projects were shown: Decathlon, the multinational sports retailer, plans the roll-out of SAP F&R in many countries and the SAP F&R competence center developed together with Decathlon a new service for an automated reference product detection to support their seasonal business. Coop Switzerland is working together with SAP on the next generation of demand and replenishment processes.

All in all: a great SAP F&R community!

What went through all presentations from my point of view was the topic of trust and business transformation. Software alone cannot guarantee success. It is an enabler for sure and having for example an accurate forecast is crucial as it was outlined for example in the Maxima presentation. But to successfully implement a highly automated solution such as SAP Forecasting and Replenishment in many cases a transformation of processes must take place. Often automation scares people – is the machine now taking over my job? No, it does not but the tasks will be different – instead of manual planning and adjusting focus on the best possible input. Work on root causes – not subsequent corrections. This is valid for stores processes as well as in distribution centers. Let the system do what the system can do best and vice versa. Leverage the time you gain by eliminating manual ordering and invest it in getting better data, for example accurate tore stock on hand. The better you feed the system, the better the better the output will be! Change from a fire drill mode into a strategic view. And for sure serve better your customers by satisfying their demand and having more time for them– this is still the fundamental goal of each retailer to stay competitive.

 

Are you interested in more details? Presentations are available on the event website:

http://www.sap.de/userforum

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