Vertical integration of procurement and demand via SAP NetWeaver

Project description

HUGO BOSS AG is a fashion house based in Metzingen, Germany, specializing in international menswear and women’s wear. The globally recognized Boss and Hugo brand collections, with their individual fashion lines, appeal to a wide range of customer tastes and needs. The collections cover classic off-the-rack fashion, leisure wear, sportswear, accessories, shoes, and leather goods. Customers can buy HUGO BOSS products in over 100 countries and at more than 5,000 points of sale worldwide.

Better Support for Trading Partners Worldwide 

HUGO BOSS relies on integrated IT systems to support business-to-business activities with its trading partners. Recently, it set up a new trader portal based on the SAP NetWeaver® platform to streamline ordering processes and goods deliveries – and implemented the SAP® Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application to support Internet sales. Now, HUGO BOSS can more effectively control the flow of product along the entire process chain. Stefan Weiblen, who leads the IT e-business team at HUGO BOSS, says, “The comprehensive ordering and information services available in our new portal help ensure our trading partners around the globe get exactly what they need, when they need it.” And this means that everyone benefits.

Implementing a New Corporate Strategy

Aside from delivering operational benefits, the use of SAP NetWeaver and SAP Customer Relationship Management also enables the vertical integration of procurement and demand. This supports the Germany-based company in its mission to synchronize demand with the entire logistics process, right down to the week.

Easy-to-Use Online Services

Some 1,000 external users – including both trading partners and media agencies – throughout the globe have expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the portal. So far, the portal has been extended to users in the United States, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Eastern Europe, with additional language-specific versions currently being prepared for a number of other markets.

Accurate Information on Warehouse Stocks

The portal contains comprehensive product catalogs that give HUGO BOSS trading partners all the information they need to effectively conduct business. Thanks to tight integration between the portal, SAP Customer Relationship Management, and the company’s back-end software, partners can search for goods and easily check product availability. Once they have made their selection by putting items in virtual shopping carts, they finalize the orders. The orders are then automatically transferred to the HUGO BOSS business enterprise system for processing. “We are convinced that these tailor-made services will make the portal attractive to a growing number of trading partners, and that the online proportion of warehouse business volume will increase significantly as a result,” explains Weiblen. HUGO BOSS employees benefit as well: They no longer have to type in orders by hand. This not only saves time, but reduces data entry errors – which helps HUGO BOSS keep its customers happy by ensuring that they receive the right goods quickly.

24x7 Services to Safeguard Revenues

These vastly accelerated business processes benefit both HUGO BOSS and its trading partners. For example, when partners need to restock key products, they can place their orders via the portal at any time, day or night, with the goods generally reaching their destination within two working days. This 24x7 ordering service can be particularly important for partners during holiday seasons when consumer demand is at an all time high.

Extra Services for Trading Partners

HUGO BOSS also provides supplementary Web services in its trading-partner portal. These include extensive marketing and campaign materials and an external print-shop connection. With just a few mouse clicks and minimal data entry, customers and advertising agencies can order personalized advertising materials. The print shop is hosted by an external service provider with a direct link to a printing company; the billing process is semi-automated. This saves customers both time and money because – among other things – they don’t have to deal directly with the agencies. The portal also contains Web-based training courses for sales staff. Portal users can also retrieve information about HUGO BOSS and its products and marketing activities, as well as a bestpractice database for marketing events. All related information is maintained by the HUGO BOSS communications, retail marketing, and sales divisions, which use the RedDot Web Content Management System.

A Total Success

The HUGO BOSS project team was very happy with the way the implementation progressed. As Weiblen reports, “We built our new portal solution with SAP NetWeaver inside of the scheduled six-month time frame – successfully and well within our planned budget.” The three consulting companies involved in the project helped ensure its success. BTEXX business technologies GmbH was instrumental in ensuring that all the performance and security specifications were implemented to the letter. BTEXX managing director Lars Laegner, who worked on the implementation, points out the importance of the SAP NetWeaver Portal component’s external facing technology during the early stages of the project. “The latest release allowed us to meet the exacting requirements for performance and design in the best possible way,” he says. Another project goal was to integrate content and to tie internal sales functionality into the portal. SAP Consulting provided reliable and expert support for integration with the SAP Apparel and Footwear application and for configuring the sales interface to reflect HUGO BOSS’s corporate persona. REALTECH AG helped set up Web services for creating new users and for replicating the user master from the portal to the HUGO BOSS back-end system. The REALTECH consultants also gave advice on all issues relating to the architecture and communications infrastructure for this innovative platform. Chris Kohlsdorf, a consulting manager at REALTECH, reports, “Strategically planning the technical infrastructure at an early stage proved to be a vital factor in ensuring a smooth implementation.” 

Into the Future with Enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture

Thanks to SAP NetWeaver, HUGO BOSS has an open standardsbased portal solution that allows it to integrate both third-party and custom-built software with the same ease. And that gives the company the flexibility and agility it needs for the future. As a global market leader in the upscale fashion market, HUGO BOSS will continue to put its trust in SAP NetWeaver as a cutting-edge platform for efficiently mapping end-to-end processes. SAP NetWeaver also enables HUGO BOSS to pursue a consistent, service-oriented approach. “We are thoroughly convinced about the benefits offered by SAP NetWeaver and enterprise serviceoriented architecture. We can see far-reaching potential for enabling even more powerful business processes. That is why we will not be turning to other solutions for our e-business – unless we have an extremely good reason to do so,” stresses Weiblen. But Weiblen says he does not foresee that happening.

More SAP NetWeaver Projects to Follow

Thanks to the flexibility and openness of the existing SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure component, HUGO BOSS can now easily link its new portal solution to other automated services via electronic data interchange (EDI) or XML interfaces. The SAP NetWeaver Application Server component, which supports development of business applications, also offers a wide array of exciting options. “We now have the means to create a future-oriented IT landscape and reduce our total cost of ownership,” concludes Weiblen.