A Quantum Leap
Paul von Haehling, an IT manager at the fancy dress and accessories wholesaler Rubie's Deutschland GmbH, comments on his experience after the introduction of TRIMIT Fashion combined with Microsoft Dynamics NAV:
"We wanted to invest in an IT solution that guarantees not only a fast and secure flow of information, but also a high level of data quality."
An aged ERP system was the reason behind the fancy dress and accessories specialised supplier Rubie’s (Bergisch Gladbach’s) decision to update its IT architecture to a new, more viable system. Above all, industry-specific factors had to be considered; specifically, extreme seasonal fluctuations typical to the costume business, the distinction between pre-orders and warehousing business, and the wide range of variants by colour and size typical of the apparel industry.
The company prides itself on delivery, deadlines, and customer service. Furthermore, efficient processes in procurement, production, sales, as well as "behind the scenes" areas, such as financial accounting, are considered critical to success. "We wanted to invest in an IT solution that not only guarantees a fast and secure flow of information, but also a high quality of data," says Paul von Haehling, IT manager at Rubie's.
Integrated Financial Accounting
Market-leading providers of ERP solutions for the apparel industry were put through their paces to find a suitable match. Ultimately, three software suppliers were shortlisted and reviewed in intensive workshops based on performance and cost/benefit considerations. Von Haehling stated "For us, primarily an integration of financial accounting was important, as well as a powerful reporting module".
From a market perspective, these requirements are particularly well-catered for within Microsoft Dynamics NAV – the ERP solution Microsoft has positioned in the market since 2002. It is a core business software solution, used primarily in small and medium-sized enterprises. Further, it requires minimal customisation, and is sold through accredited Microsoft partners. One such partner is HSG Hanse Solution, Hamburg, who were awarded the contract within Rubie’s selection process.
At Rubie's, the core functionality of Microsoft business solution is complemented and expanded with TRIMIT Fashion. "TRIMIT Fashion makes it possible to adapt the system with little effort to the individual business needs. The cost of additional programming are reduced to a minimum," says HSG CEO Uwe Schaub. Other key benefits of TRIMIT include:
- Allowing "everything from one source" concept
- Speed of implementation
- Easy updates to new software releases by Microsoft
"Specifically, the integration to Microsoft Office, in particular the data export into Excel, is excellent and simple to use", von Haehling is pleased to report. The existing interfaces make the system very flexible. When it comes to exporting data (Web Services, XML, etc.), users find it very easy and intuitive to use."
The solution also allows Rubie's to provide electronic data interchange (EDI) to their customers: "30% of the customers use EDI to place their orders, which underlines the importance of efficiency, speed and safety in these processes."
The implementation of the new IT solution at Rubie's Deutschland (and in the Dutch subsidiary) began in early 2014 under the direction of Carsten Weege, HSG. The aim was to complete it within six months. "It was clear that this was a very ambitious timetable but the HSG has kept its word, " says von Haehling.
Since the implementation, the quality of the inventory data has improved considerably at Rubie’s. Handheld terminals are used to scan goods during the packaging and shipment process, which makes everything more transparent. "We now know more precisely than before, where, and in what quantity, the goods are in, and what has been sent when," explains the IT Manager. The system is also able to process several thousand lines of a sales order.
Inventory Up, Complaint Rate Is Down
On top of this, Rubie's profits from more flexibility in the completion of reserving goods after new stock comes in. In the past, pre-orders could only refer to the amount of stock in the warehouse. Now the IT solution can also connect pre-orders to Rubie's future deliveries. According to von Haehling, this reduces out-of-stock situations whilst, at the same time, accelerating inventory turnover and reduced capital commitment.
To Rubie's, it is also new to have the ability to transfer the amount of the stock of one high rise rack in the warehouse to Dynamics NAV via an interface.
At the end of the day, the use of TRIMIT Fashion in conjunction with Dynamics NAV has improved the quality of delivery appreciably and sustainably, thus reducing the rate of complaints.
von Haehling notes remarkable progress in the identification of items within the master data. The flexibility, with which a data record can be expanded, is, in the expert's estimation, a "quantum leap".
Further benefits include:
- Calculation Rubie's uses the appropriate module of TRIMIT Fashion to assist. The system calculates sales prices, taking into account all of the parameters defined up front. "The pricing is part of the catalogue production and coincides with the high season of our business. We simply need particularly efficient IT support."
- Display Assembly Rubie's supplies retailers, including well-known multiples, with fully-equipped product carriers. Before using the new IT solution, they only had a limited transparency of stocks. Because of this, they could not handle orders from other customers at that time, and, as a consequence, lost track of the stock. Also, they could not give a delivery promise to the customer. By contrast, TRIMIT Fashion, based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV, now enables a complete mapping of the inventory data in warehouse logistics at any time.
- B2B Webshop The webshop gives Rubie's customers the option for online communication. For example, online orders within the B2B. The new ERP solution TRIMIT Fashion also offers an EDI interface with "outstanding data import into the inventory management system.
- Support Individual system adjustments have been made by Rubie's. However, the "core support" requiring changes in the business logic have been done by HSG Hanse Solution. "This works very well and has become the basis of a partnership in which it is also truly personable," states von Haehling. With the introduction of a new software, any "difficult situations" and "potential conflicts" require, not only high quality software, but also getting the "human factor" right.
The company was founded as Rubie's Candy Store in 1951 by Rubin and Tillie Beige in New York. The convenience store was launched with a range consisting of magazines and comics. In the late 50s, the company began under the new name "Rubie's Fun House" to experiment with new product groups, including costumes, masks, and accessories. In 1967, the company added theatre costumes. In the 70s, the company founder’s children entered into the company. As the new CEO, Marc Beige changed the company name in Rubie's Costume Company, and operated the internationalization of the company. For success, the marketing of products contributed significantly under known license-names, such as "Star Trek," "Batman," "Superman," and "Harry Potter".
Meanwhile, the Rubie's Costume Company, Inc., is one of the world leaders in their industry. It employs more than 3,000 people in 14 countries. In Germany, the company operates out of Bergisch Gladbach. About 150 employees work for the German Rubie's subsidiary. In addition to the sales of the US Mother´s products, Rubie's Deutschland also develops its own collections. Therefore, the company also includes the areas of product development/design, tailoring, and pattern doubling.
About HSG Hanse Solution
The company was founded in 2004. It has headquarters in Hamburg, with offices in Cologne and Krefeld. It focuses on the textile, fashion and furniture industry, and operates in these areas with known customers from trade and industry.
In addition to ERP solutions, the portfolio of the IT provider includes systems for e-commerce (B2B, B2C, supplier and sales portals), analysis, procurement planning, product data management (PDM), and Business Intelligence (BI).
HSG solutions also help users whose offerings make use of a product configurator.