How to beat the competition in fashion and retail?

Start with the end in mind.

The first step in your SAP S/4HANA implementation project – is understanding your business objectives and clearly defining expected outcomes. Your leaders have objectives – profit, market share, customer engagement, innovation, use of resources, or increased productivity –  and technology should align to support and enable that vision. Perhaps your leaders have aligned on fixing a specific weakness that will enable these goals or on innovation to accelerate success above and beyond your competitors.

Whatever the purpose of the technology engagement, leadership alignment at the outset, not only on the objectives but also on the priority and weight of each objective, guides implementation project decisions. Throughout your project, you, your technical team, and your business leaders should return to this often, especially when changes to scope are proposed, questions arise, or decisions are needed. The outcomes you all agree to should guide difficult choices and decisions that will be needed throughout your project.

A successful SAP S/4HANA implementation:

  1. meets the business requirements,
  2. is delivered on schedule,
  3. is maintained within the allocated budget, and
  4. provides a return on investment (ROI)

ROI is only achievable with an understanding of expected outcomes and clear adherence to business goals.

Define your fashion or retail industry challenge: What’s holding you back?

Many users will go into a project like an SAP S/4AHANA implementation with specific requests in mind:  “I need better reporting, so give me SAP Analytics Cloud,” for example. As a business analyst, my first question to every user was, “what is the business problem you are trying to solve?” because simply applying technology won’t solve all your challenges.

Consumer Industry experts who really understand fashion and retail processes and know SAP will be crucial to your success.  Conversations about your unique challenges – your pain points, benefits, competitors’ successes, and future vision – lead to a greater understanding when you and your consulting team are “speaking the same fashion/retail language.”

What are your fashion and retail competitors doing?

Considering your business case, project plan, and defined outcomes, it might help to look at other customer success stories. In fashion and retail especially, it pays to have a healthy understanding of your competition – including how they optimized their technology.

Success with SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Retail

Case #1: Simplification enables the agility to support responsiveness to customers.

Goal: Achieve leadership’s aggressive growth strategy.

What held them back: A complex legal structure strangled the efficient movement of goods. The legacy ERP was unable to handle this kind of complexity.


  • The company’s complex legal structure was setup using standard out-of-the-box capability in SAP S/4HANA
  • Innovation by Rizing provided a seamless and transparent process by automating the flash transfer process
  • S/4HANA functionality enabled a relatively simple process for statutory reporting required for the complex legal set-up

Carhartt managed rapid growth and marketplace disruption with flexible omnichannel capabilities. Read more.

Case #2: Retail inventory audit and tracking contains expenses.

Goal:  Increase profitability and eliminate waste.

What held them back: The inability to track and trace or audit inventory discrepancies in stores resulted in differences between stores and warehouses that had to be written off.

  • Significant inventory discrepancies in the retail stores
  • No ability to track and trace inventory or audit inventory discrepancies in stores
  • At the end of the day, inventory between the warehouse and stores would be overlayed as the new inventory – any differences would have to be written off without an audit


  • SAP’s suite of FIORI applications for store operations provided the customer with the capability to perform inventory operations in stores in real-time
  • The store operations apps, along with SAP CAR (Customer Active Repository) provided the customer with the capability to have real-time visibility of inventory in the stores
  • Rizing-developed enhancements enabled the capability to audit discrepancies due to over and under-deliveries from the warehouse

Maxport Improved FI month-end closing lead times with real-time logistics movements. Read their story.

Case #3: Increase customer satisfaction with real-time inventory evaluation

Goal:  Prioritize key customers and manage backorders in the proper sequence.

What held them back: Outdated ERP platform needs to provide real-time data.


  • SAP S/4HANA® out-of-the-box functionality solved supply assignments
  • Rizing delivered Advanced Available to Prioritize (aATP) functionality to manage last-minute order changes and unanticipated production problems, ensuring top customers’ orders are fulfilled in priority order
  • Back Order Processing (BOP) with aATP in SAP S/4HANA provided the capability to run availability checks and reconfirm the entire order book

Nice Apparel applied industry best practices across the organization with SAP S/4HANA’s digital core providing the ability to extend and expand as business requirements evolve. Read more. 

Experience matters. Get the Right Solution with the Right Fashion and Retail Industry Expertise

When it comes to what you need to make your business excel, you are the experts. You know your business best. We’re here to help you reimagine the solutions to your real-world challenges. We’ve been there in your world, we speak your language, and we’re driven to solve the smallest or most complex challenges in fashion and retail.