SAP Analytics Cloud provides ASICS with real-time performance visibility

‘s-Hertogenbosch, September 2019 – How does sales perform? How much is the stock worth now? And what is the trend in sales per region? Managers prefer to have real-time insight into the performance of the organization. ASICS, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of sports equipment and accessories, achieved this with SAP’s Fashion Management Solution (FMS) and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC).

The use of SAP technology resulted, among other things, in an executive dashboard embraced by the top management of ASICS in Kobe, Japan. The managers can see at a glance how the company is doing at a glance. The dashboard contains all the information the management needs to make sound decisions and manage the company on a daily basis. The data is live and can be refreshed every minute.

Solid basis

The executive dashboard is the showpiece to which ASICS, together with SAP and partners Delaware and Nextview, has worked step by step towards over the past few years. “First we had to provide a solid foundation, with one way of working worldwide, one system for reporting, one template and clear rules for reporting,” says Menno Huijgen, Global Director SAP Finance & Analytics at ASICS.

According to the director, this uniformity was lacking. “We worked with different ERP and accounting systems, resulting in different definitions and different working methods. This led to complexity and inefficiency. If figures are delivered in different ways, it takes a lot of time to check and compare them. At a time when there are different definitions for ‘net sales’, for example – and certain values are sometimes excluded or not excluded – you don’t really know what you’re looking at.

Implementation FMS

In order to ‘compare apples with apples’, the Japanese sportswear manufacturer started the implementation of SAP’s Fashion Management Solution (FMS) in 2016, replacing the various systems in use. “Europe was the one to start with, because our Navision system was in urgent need of replacement,” says Huijgen. With the experience gained in Europe, FMS was then rolled out to Australia, Hong Kong, China and the United States. Japan is scheduled for next year.

“FMS is the solid foundation we needed,” says Huijgen. “We now have everything together and do not need to retrieve the figures from different systems. When I press a button in Europe to book something, our management in Japan can immediately see where the booking is going to go. That’s the advantage of having one central system with all the data. Thanks to a standard template for reporting, reports now always look the same. And we have drawn up clear rules, for example for writing off the stock value.”

SAP Analytics Cloud

“Then you have to make sure you have your views in order,” says Bert Torn, Lead Expert at Delaware. “These views retrieve the correct data from the underlying SAP HANA database. The next step is to visualize and present the data in the right way, in such a way that both the analyst and the management benefit from it.”

For the visualization, ASICS examined various tools, including SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Design Studio and SAP Lumira. “It was difficult for us to make a choice,” says Torn. “It was at this very moment that SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) started to play a role. That solution may not have been quite mature at the time, but it did provide exactly what we needed.”

“SAC can simply consume the existing views, and fits in seamlessly with FMS without us having to do strange things,” explains Torn. “Moreover, the data remain in FMS. We wanted a live connection with the data and that doesn’t work if you have to transfer the data to another system first. That’s why we opted for a private SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud environment, rather than a public cloud where other users could endanger performance.”

Getting started

According to Torn, the implementation of SAC consisted of little more than creating users and teams. “And then you just have to get on with it.” Huijgen: “Initially, we will use SAC for reporting, but we will also use it to show predictive forecastings and schedules.

“We have created a new and innovative dashboard in a relatively short period of time that is actually used by top management”, Huijgen notes with satisfaction. That performance earned ASICS and Delaware a nomination for a SAP Quality Award. “Other regions now want to present their figures in a similar way. That’s why we not only want to encourage worldwide use of the executive dashboard, but also to translate that dashboard into ‘region dashboards’. With the figures for a specific region that are also reflected in the global dashboard.”