Microsoft Dynamics AX supports production, sales and client service in Ferax

Ferax Sp. z o.o., the owner of the Gatta brand, is using Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail solution to improve customer care, streamline communication between outlets and enhance inventory management, including stock availability and rotation.

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*Deploying Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail functionality at the Gatta retail network has improved customer care, enhanced the stock availability and rotation, and facilitated communication process management between the outlets in our network*

Andrzej Konopka
Ferax Operational Manager

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Introduction
Ferax Sp. z o.o. is the owner of Gatta, a well-known brand in the pantyhose, clothing and lingerie production market. The company was established in 1993, offering a wide range of high quality women’s clothing and lingerie products. Gatta products are available in over 90 company outlets, as well as numerous lingerie and pantyhose shops.

Intensive growth and investments in modern equipment have contributed to the company becoming an industry leader – currently, Ferax has one of the largest and most modern plants in Europe. Every year, the company expands its product portfolio, putting emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Gatta products are sold within the European Union, as well as Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, and even Mongolia and Australia.

Currently, Ferax employs 2,800 employees in four production plants located in Zdunska Wola and Lodz.

The Challenge
Ferax Sp. z o.o. is the owner of the Gatta clothing and lingerie brand, valued both in the Polish and the European market. Currently, there are nearly 100 Gatta outlets in various shopping centers. Our lingerie and pantyhose are also sold in renowned shops.

Until now, Ferax has used Microsoft Dynamics RMS to support its retail network. The solution was implemented in 2006, when the network consisted of approximately 30 outlets. At that point in time, the head office had already been using Microsoft Dynamics AX. Along with the expansion of the outlet network, a decision was made to implement a solution that would be integrated with the existing ERP system. The main reason behind that decision was the desire to simplify the sales network management processes, to relieve shop employees of performing logistic functions, and the automation of the network support processes in the head office.

It was also important that Microsoft Dynamics RMS was an external solution with regard to the ERP system, with data to be migrated between the two, and its communication architecture became inefficient for the growing number of outlets.

The aim of the deployed system was to relieve the employees of activities not directly connected with the sales process and customer care at Gatta outlets. It was also expected to streamline both data distribution management from Microsoft Dynamics AX to retail chains and sales reporting by increasing the frequency of transferring data from the sales network. The system was also to enable stock planning integrated with purchase and production.

For our employees, it was also important to automate the distribution of changes in master data between head office and outlets, to streamline the communication between employees and outlets, and to make this process scalable. Another expectation was a Common Point of Reference (CPR) for the sales network, and cohesion of the presented reporting data over time.

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*The system automatically sends information concerning changes in product or customer data, as well as changes in specification of special sales offers to all outlets. Thanks to the new communication architecture, obtaining coherent master data and cohesion of transaction data over time is possible. This allows improved control over sales processes within our retail network*

Andrzej Konopka
Ferax Operational Manager

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The Solution
Before the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail modules, an ERP class system (Microsoft Dynamics AX) was already in place, which has been updated to a newer version. During the migration, additional retail modules for Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail were installed. However, during the first project phase, and after changing to the new Microsoft Dynamics AX version, they were not activated. The deployment of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail took place as a separate project aimed directly at implementing the retail functionality into the sales activity management.

The deployment was performed by I&B Consulting, a company with many years of experience in the implementation of ERP class solutions for the retail sector.

“We have been working with Ferax for over 10 years, supporting it with ERP deployment and operation. For us, the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail was therefore another natural step in our mutual relations”, comments Michał Sopiński, CEO of I&B Consulting.

The deployment process was divided into stages. The assumption was to design and implement a pilot solution, to test it and roll it out. The entire deployment process was initiated in October 2011, when Ferax began to test the pilot solution at one of its outlets. Advanced tests lasted until July 2012. Currently, Ferax is at the roll out stage.

At present, 240 employees can access the system. In addition, there are plans to expand the system due to an increase of the sales network by 20 to 30 outlets and the network’s expansion into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

How does it work?
Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail is the latest generation retail solution with a Common Point of Reference that is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AX as its module. It has a communication architecture to efficiently support even several hundred outlets. More importantly, it includes open source code for most applications.

Microsoft Dynamics AX has a central module responsible for retail operations – a kind of a retail network switchboard. The second element of the network are system peers at the outlets, the so called POS applications. Communication between network points takes place by means of two mechanisms, i.e. WEB services that allow the POS application to access the current data at the head office, and a mechanism that downloads transaction data from the outlets at the head office level. This improves the quality of data with regard to cohesion over time and the frequency of data updates.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail has many functions to manage sales processes and activities. Among other things, it has a driver for fiscal devices and the MinMax function that allows to set the minimal and maximal level for product combinations, and generate transfer orders based on the set levels and the inventory. This functionality has a simplified user interface and many possible filter levels to effectively manage the extended product directory.

In addition, the “statement of sales” posting modification has been added (including aggregation), which makes it possible to separate product return and sales documents. Moreover, the direct connection of sales returns with sales transactions allows for proper binding of the sales costs modification between incoming and outgoing amounts. The process of sending and receiving transfer orders has also been reorganized and equipped with the background posting function, i.e. without user involvement. The process of creating transfer orders (stock up) has also been significantly streamlined.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail also offers the ability to issue VAT invoices and correct them at the POS, and to import transfer orders from a text file.

Business benefits
The company experienced many measurable benefits from using Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, for example:
  • Faster and more effective customer service due to better communication between Gatta outlets
  • Simplification of the sales network management processes
  • Relieving the employees of work not directly connected with the sales process and customer care at the outlets, e.g. logistic activities
  • Common Point of Reference for the sales network
  • Cohesion of the presented reporting data over time
  • Automation of distribution of changes in master data between head office and outlets
  • Enhanced stock availability and rotation
  • Stock planning integrated with purchase and production

In addition, the stock rotation at the outlets has increased by over 40%, while the operating costs have been reduced by 10%. Ferax now has a possibility to extend the sales network, reducing its operating costs at the same time.

References
“Deploying Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail functionality at the Gatta retail network has improved customer care, enhanced stock availability and rotation, and facilitated communication process management between the outlets in our network” – says Andrzej Konopka, Ferax Operational Manager.

“The system automatically sends information concerning changes in product or customer data, as well as changes in specification of special sales offers to all outlets. Thanks to the new communication architecture, obtaining coherent master data and cohesion of transaction data over time is possible. This allows improved control over sales processes within our retail network” – Konopka concludes.

Microsoft Dynamics
Dynamics is an integral part of Microsoft that offers a wide range of integrated business solutions for large and medium-sized enterprises. The company’s offer includes enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. These solutions help large and medium-sized businesses to create and improve communication with customers, employees, partners and suppliers.

The main Microsoft Dynamics products for the Polish market include Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics applications optimize strategic business processes within the organization, i.e. financial, HR, supply chain, service, project and customer relationship management, as well as E-commerce, analytics and production.

Microsoft Dynamics solutions are sold by a network of partner companies with specialized deployment, training and service teams. Currently, the worldwide Microsoft Dynamics Partner network includes over 4,500 value-added resellers, system integrators, consultants, independent software vendors, consulting companies, and suppliers of integrated business solutions and services.

All over the world, more than 305,000 companies and organizations use Microsoft Dynamics solutions.

More information about Microsoft Dynamics:
http://www.microsoft.com/poland/dynamics/

Customer Size: Large Organization
Industry: Power & Utilities
Country or Region: Poland
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail
Organization Profile: Ferax Sp. z o.o., the owner of the Gatta brand, began operations in the pantyhose, clothing and lingerie production market in 1993. Gatta products are available in nearly 100 company outlets in the largest cities in Poland, as well as lingerie and pantyhose shops.
Business Situation: Ferax is one of the leaders in the pantyhose, clothing and lingerie production market. Currently, the company has one of the largest and most modern production plants in Europe. Gatta products are sold in Poland, other countries of the European Union, Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, and even Mongolia and Australia.
Benefits: • The system has streamlined customer care, which increased consumer satisfaction.
• The solution has facilitated the stock availability and rotation, it also enabled Ferax to implement stock planning.
• AX for Retail has streamlined the flow of information between individual outlets, thus allowing for a better control of the sales processes.
• The system made it possible to develop a Common Point of Reference for the sales network, and achieve coherence of the presented reporting data.
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