TPF Merchandise Planning Services

The Planning Factory offer a full service in all areas of merchandise, range and assortment planning

You may need:

  • An audit to measure the effectiveness of your current merchandise planning process
  • Assistance with implementation of 3rd party merchandise planning solutions
  • Design and implementation of custom planning solutions
  • A quickly implemented off the shelf solution
  • Training in merchandise planning concepts and techniques

Whatever your requirements, we will do our best to provide a solution that fits your business

TPF Financial Budgeting Services

We can help you escape from spreadsheet Hell!

We can also integrate your financial plans with other business areas

If you want to replace silos of information with JOINED-UP PLANNING contact us now!

Merchandise Planning for Less than the Cost of A Month's Markdown!

What is a Merchandise planning system?

A merchandise planning system is a database optimised to function in the Merchandise Planning environment. The principal benefit lies in that these systems contain functionality to allow easy consolidation and re-iteration of the plans. Frequently such systems will contain special functionality. Sometimes this is useful like the ability to map variables or to consolidate items like closing stock in a special way. Sometimes it is merely good for client demonstrations like the ability to change values by dragging on graph lines. In all cases their usefulness is limited by the experience and skill of the system designer. The scope of these systems extends from simple spreadsheet based W.S.S.I. sheets costing a few pounds to fully integrated dedicated planning systems that frequently cost more than half a million pounds to buy and install and which require permanent staff to administer them.

What do YOU want from a system?

Obviously, we cannot answer that question for you and whatever you decide should be a result of a formalised merchandising strategy.

However, our experience has taught us a great deal, and what we find most often is.

  • You have probably got a large investment (financial and intellectual) in spreadsheets already used in planning.
  • You are probably frustrated by the fact that these spreadsheets are not uniform - people WILL keep amending their copy because their area IS different
  • This, and the simple the fact that they are spreadsheets, makes them very difficult to consolidate
  • Populating the spreadsheets with data prior to roll out is very difficult It is very hard to amend the spreadsheets once they have been rolled out
  • It is equally hard to update thespreadsheets with new data (actuals)
  • On the other hand spreadsheets are cheap and your users feel comfortable with the technology and the interface
  • You probably don't really want to re-engineer your entire merchandising process, but that sales guy DID sound quite convincing didn't he? How much a day were his consultants. HOW many days?
  • Your users understand the way the spreadsheets work and if you could only get past the problems of consolidation, uniformity and data import you would be quite happy to keep them.
  • You may not feel confident that you know enough to be sure that any move away fom your spreadsheets is a success, so you think that you had better either stay where you are or get ready to spend some serious money.

If this is you, the you may well be considering investing is a dedicated merchandise planning system. This may be the right move for you, but before you make it, maybe you should consider an alternative. Check out our "Is there life between the spreadsheet and the big system?" section below to find out more

Is there life between the spreadsheet and the Big System?

Surprisingly enough, YES!

Retail Merchandise Planning is a multi-dimensional problem. The main dimensions being Time, Location and Product. Most planning tools offer you a way of manipulating data across these 3 dimensions.

Today's OLAP (On Line Analaytical Processing) tools allow you to the same sort of things, often at a much reduced cost. Once purchased these tools are also available for ad hoc reporting and other budgeting applications (Branch P&L, Company Financial Budgets etc). Some of them, like Jedox Palo, are even free

As an example we have created an Open to Buy / WSSI module based on Applix TM1.

Populated with a data set that includes:

  • 2 years actuals
  • a plan version
  • a final budget
  • a re-forecast version
  • over 300 base level products and their summaries
  • retail, cost and unit conversions
  • 52 weeks data
  • with 20 variables

the entire model occupies less than 7 Mb of disk space and reconsolidates to total level in seconds.

It can be used stand alone or as a client server application on a network with full cell level security and web access and database replication for mobile users if required.

It doesn't need any special kit as it can run on anything from a standalone PC running Windows 95 to a full network. If you can run Excel you can run TM1.

Users can access the model for viewing and input using either the TM1 browser or an Excel spreadsheet. Plans can be viewed using any OLE DB compliant client

The model contains retail logic like the use of input Forward Stock Cover and consolidates Opening and Closing Stock correctly.

Being rule based any changes are made only once in the central rule file.

Roll out consists installing the client software and granting user access to the model.

Changes to calculation logic are updated automatically.

Data is loaded automatically obvisting the need for complicated extract, transform and load macros.

So it's a real Client/Server Merchandise Planning System then?

No. It is more than that! It is an application created in a fully fledged multi-dimensional database

Using the same tool kit we can do all of:

  • merchandise planning
  • financial budgeting and reporting
  • activity based costing
  • retail profit and loss reporting
  • flash sales reporting
  • user defined ad hoc analysis

and MUCH MUCH more

It is the key to Joined Up Planning

If you would like to find out more about IMPACT Planner please send us an email

To get an idea of how we have packaged this into a Merchandise Planning application for you, take a look at our IMPACT Planner page or download the PDF datasheet here.