Patagonia, the outdoor recreation clothing and gear provider, was founded in 1972 as both a wholesaler and a mail-order business. Today, its channels include wholesalers, international distributors, Patagonia retail stores, a catalog and a website. As the company grew, Patagonia began having issues with its ERP software. It found that inventory was managed separately for each channel and the system was unable to automatically locate extra inventory needed.
Also, forecasting demand for future seasons posed a challenge; Patagonia’s process took six weeks to complete, so planners could only run so many forecasts before a certain season began. Time was wasted re-keying relevant data to reallocate the merchandise and a lack of tools to update forecasts based on sales.
The solution??? In 2009 Patagonia worked with Microsoft Partner Sunrise Technologies to implement the Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP suite with add-on solutions, incorporating special features designed for the apparel industry. Patagonia rolled out the new software in phases, starting with Microsoft's Consumer Demand Planning forecasting tool in 2009 and then two components of the Microsoft Dynamics AX finance module in May, 2010.
Since Patagonia implemented Microsoft Dynamics AX, planners have been running pre-season forecasts monthly, allowing them to view demand across all sales channels and make adjustments. By late 2010, Patagonia calculated that Microsoft Dynamics had improved inventory turns by up to 30 percent and fill rates by 10 percent. Building on this success, Patagonia now is expanding its use of Microsoft Dynamics AX to its operations outside the United States.
Learn more about Dynamics AX and its offerings here.