Zalora fashions a
simpler planning process
distributed teams to collaborate enterprise-wide to make complex decisions
to consolidate data, down from days
planning process leverages multiple data sources
spreadsheet crashes halting work
Connected Planning enables the owners of the budgets to have an active role in bringing together the business plans.
Director of FP&A and Business Intelligence
Zalora, a unit of online retail powerhouse Global Fashion Group, relied on spreadsheet-based financial planning processes that were cumbersome, disconnected, and inconsistent from market to market. Compounding this complexity, the company had created back-end systems and processes without standardization as it grew. The finance team frequently encountered spreadsheet crashes and spent significant time on data consolidation and administration. The result: a fragmented planning process that inhibited teams from collaborating or making business decisions in real time.
The company needed a flexible, dynamic solution to enable its team to plan in a single platform. The solution had to manage multiple currencies and reconcile multiple data sets spread across various regions into a single, consistent view. After evaluating various options, leaders at Zalora saw that Anaplan could strengthen and unify its business strategy and planning process without slowing down the company and its growth trajectory.
With Anaplan, Zalora integrates many types of datasets into a single planning process. In addition to financial planning and analysis (FP&A), Anaplan is leveraged for supply chain assortment planning and resource planning for the workforce. The company has turned strategy into agile execution by arming decision makers with living, data-driven plans to execute against.
Spreadsheet crashes have been eliminated, and data consolidation is substantially quicker—instead of it taking days, it now only takes seconds. As a result of these improvements, the relationship between business leaders and their budgets has changed fundamentally. “Connected Planning enables the owners of the budgets to have an active role in bringing together the business plans,” explains David Inns, Director of FP&A and Business Intelligence.
Zalora chose the Anaplan platform because it enables various business functions to provide input into the planning process. Zalora leaders believed Anaplan would enable the finance team to standardize business planning and scale with its 100 percent year-over-year growth.
My name is David Inns, and I’m the Director of FP&A and BI (Business Intelligence) at Zalora. I look after all the business planning, but also look after getting together all the data that we need to put together the plans.
We sell fashion throughout Southeast Asia. Zalora is part of a larger group called GFG (Global Fashion Group). GFG is a holding company for similar ventures in other emerging markets.
We brought in Anaplan to simplify our planning process. We have quite a decentralized network throughout the organization, with the logistics teams spread out throughout the region and buying teams in different markets. We wanted to be able to pull together all that information in a cohesive way.
We use Anaplan to pull together our full assortment plan, which is what products we’re going to buy for the next season and which drives our top line. But obviously, as we operate a full supply chain, the volume going out of that goes into driving our fulfillment costs to get the product to the customers.
We built out several modules within Anaplan to enable different functions of the business to have input into coming up with the business plan. Once we’ve got an idea about our overall top-down targets for the business, we can then have the businesses work in each of the underlying modules to see how they’re going to come together to achieve the plan.
Resourcing is obviously the biggest cost driver for us, so we worked with our HR team to build out a full enterprise-wide resource planning tool that enables people to take their existing resourcing levels and then make some fairly complex decisions in terms of changes that they will be undertaking in their departments with their resourcing throughout the year.
Anaplan has helped us with some considerable time savings during the planning process. Not only have we avoided all the historic Excel crashes, but that consolidation and administration of the data has become a lot easier, enabling the various teams involved in pulling together the consolidated views to actually start reviewing the data straight away rather than spending all that time pulling it together.
Where we used to take several days to consolidate all of those spreadsheets to get a view, we now get it within seconds—the moment they input the information—and the timeframe is cut off, we can see what the cost will be.
Connected planning is important because it enables the owners of the budgets to have an active role in bringing together the business plans.
Now, with our assortment planning and resource planning, we are mostly done with our logistics out of the business. And I now will be looking to further extend that into other parts of the business, particularly on expenses, and possibly even on the marketing front.