Finnish based Finlayson is a household textile specialist, founded in 1820. It designs and sells its own product lines in Finland where it has 15 stores, and in Sweden, where it opened its first branch in Spring 2016. As well as having its own retail footprint, Finlayson sells through a dedicated webshop and to broaden its high street presence, it sells through a variety of department stores, and seasonal pop-up stores.
In 2014, Finlayson was sold to a group of entrepreneurs who brought a renewed focus to the retailer and a vision to take it back to its design-led roots. The change in management direction instigated a push for better insight and in particular, a need to find a better way to extract data from the different IT systems.
Petri Pellonmaa, CFO of Finlayson, recalls why the transformation was necessary: “We have ambitious plans as a brand and want to expand our footprint across the Nordics and internationally. However, our ERP system, the reporting tools and much of the supporting IT infrastructure, was just not up to the job. The data housed in the ERP system was difficult to extract and the reporting function was very inflexible – we couldn’t make changes to the system so we could only work with a very closed set of data. This made reacting to the market and planning new collections based on previous performance very difficult.”
“Our teams also didn’t like using it because reports took so long to run and often had to be reformatted by IT before they were useful. This restricted our ability to perform well. We couldn’t see what was happening day to day in our current business, let alone plan for the next phase. We were effectively working blind.”
Working with Zoined opened up the possibility of extracting more meaningful information from the ERP system, cash registers and webstores and brought huge potential for giving the design and sales teams the real-time analytics that would help them make informed decisions. The major appeal was that Zoined could work with the ERP system despite its shortcomings and could quickly integrate a mix of data feeds that would unlock data and provide accurate insight.
Petri explains the difference it has made: “We loved how easy it was to get started, and use. The impact was almost instant. The visual representation of data has transformed the way our people work. The buying teams can see what collections, lines and items to keep and which to discontinue, which sales campaigns are working, and for the first time store managers can run a report that is easy to understand whenever they want.”
“We’ve also become much better at forecasting and we are more reactive to sales trends. For example if we see a store is underperforming we can find out why and put in place instant plans to help – from advertising the store to improving the range.”
It’s also helped the company provide better support to their wholesale customers. Now, using the insight from their own retail stores they can share trends and give better advice on what lines to take.
Petri concludes: “It’s crucial in our business that we understand what is happening today so we can plan for tomorrow. Our business is cyclical and we are always working ahead of the seasons and planning the new lines we will launch. Now with Zoined we have complete visibility of our performance and can access very detailed data quickly, so we make the best plans for our company. It’s transformed how we work and how we will work in the future.”