Particularly in times of crisis, planning processes have proved to become herculean tasks. Coronavirus lockdown, retail store closures and the resulting consequences and uncertainties in the fashion industry, however, are not the only reasons. The main reason is the fact that different people are involved in planning at different times, on different levels and for various seasons with different time schedules. Much depends on upstream planning stages and affects downstream planning steps.
Great effort, little benefit?
Sales planning, product category planning, limit planning, assortment planning, procurement planning, shop floor planning? The list could go on and on. There is nothing that can’t be planned these days – which is not a bad thing at all. The crucial question is the balance between benefit and effort. These two sides of the same coin are closely related to each other: the higher the effort, the lower the benefit. How come?
Planning as a tiresome chore?
First of all, the planners’ enthusiasm is fading rapidly along with an increasing effort to create and maintain planning processes. The more complex the planning becomes, the more likely its spirit and purpose will be challenged. Time-consuming back and forth of the planning tools, nerve-wracking coordination of various spreadsheet calculations, endless meetings with other planners – the original requirement, i.e. to look into the planning issue with a calm approach and a content strategy and to develop well-founded planning figures for the next period(s), retreats more and more to the background. The main thing is to finish the task as quickly as possible – the planning figures can be justified somehow and hopefully will survive the next meeting. This way, planning will be reduced to a tiresome duty.
Too many figures and versions – loss of trust?
Subsequently, planners themselves as well as the recipients of their plans start to lose confidence in the planning – if only behind closed doors. Planning figures are less and less the basis of business decisions since they are less trusted – maybe rightly so. What was the latest agreed version again? Has everybody seen it and nodded it through? What are the differences between the current and the new version? Questions upon questions.
Consistent planning structure brings flexibility and clarity!
Extremely complex, unclear and inefficient planning tools and processes create a vicious circle. There is only one way out of it: plan less, define a structure and at the same time allow for individual flexibility and creativity, kill sacred cows and implement an integrated planning tool for all levels and planning figures.
A wonderful utopia? No! The planning modules of IN:FASHION take you one important step closer towards your goal. You can start with a flat, clear structure and add or remove more planning levels at a later stage. Be inspired!