Our CEO and editorial board member Mark Harrop met with the team from Venistar at the launch of Venistar’s Amsterdam offices on 16th May. His exclusive report provides further context to the company’s continued expansion plans.
Venistar bills itself as one of Europe’s leading providers of omni-channel solutions and consulting services, and as part of expansion plans across Europe the company has held launch events in Paris and Amsterdam in the last month.
Our Editorial Board member Loick Le Moigne produced an exclusive report and interview following on from the Paris event, and just last week our CEO, Mark Harrop, took part in a roundtable discussion with several noteworthy European brands at the launch of Venistar’s Amsterdam offices.
The other attendees to the session at the Petas Fashion Showrooms were typical of Venistar’s target market, since the company has focused exclusively on the European luxury industry for several years. Its clients include: Bally, Bata, Benetton, Bruno Magli, Bulgari, Chantecler, Church’s, Ecco, Damiani, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Ferrari, Geox, Guess, Helly Hansen, Lanvin, La Perla, Liu Jo, Michael Kors, Pinko, Ports1961, Replay, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stefanel, Valentino, Valextra, Vivienne Westwood, Zanotti and more.
The event was formally opened by Antonio Canovese (pictured below), who introduced the company and provided some context to the extension of its consulting and solutions practices across Europe. The business, as Antonio explained, is located close to Venice, Italy. The company started its operation in 2005, and today Venistar counts 60 professionals specialising in the retail, brands, wholesale & luxury sectors. Venistar’s own solution offering is branded “FashionAble” and today serves over 100 global brands with some 18,000 users across 38 countries.
With European offices in Italy, France and now Holland, Venistar is well-placed to offer its broad solution portfolio to much of Europe. These solutions cover aspects of everything from the creative design and development processes of PLM, to much deeper offerings in the form of core ERP modules, and B2B, and B2C activities supported by their leading e-Commerce solution. As Antonio explained, each of Venistar’s solutions has been carefully designed and crafted to play an integral part of an overall ERP solution backbone – one that can enable NPI (new modules and process to be introduced and integrated to the main business system) that are designed to take advantage of the core data and can help to meet the ever demanding challenges of their customers.
In his introduction, Antonio cited several luxury companies that are already using the Venistar platform. Amongst these was Ferrari, which is today managing its merchandising and retail division with Venistar FashionAble Enterprise. Antonio also referenced a number of the apparel and luxury brands we have listed above, but drew particular attention also to Venistar’s strong presence in the footwear sector, with customers like Bally International, Geox, Bruno Magli, Bata Shoes, Church’s and others leading their stable.
Following the company introduction, Antonio stated that rather than going directly into a typical solution presentation, he would rather like to ask the audience to participate in a more open questing event. His intention, he said, was to gain a deeper understanding into the attendees’ thoughts and experiences of current industry challenges, industry politics and general industry trends. This approach was a refreshing change from the typical show and tell approach, and provided a very interesting and stimulating set of discussions, including some lively feedback coming from the audience.
The attendees raised topics like data ownership, and concerns were aired regarding the growing number of larger software companies that attempt to “lock” their customers into their particular platforms, with others like Venistar that are instead firmly pursuing an open digital innovation approach. From there, several attendees led discussions around the need to digitise the entire end-to-end product lifecycle (often called digital transformation) and the need to unify the non-transactional and transactional data – or left and right brain – activities.
With each issue raised, Venistar’s team and join partners provided their own insight into how their combined solution offerings (including B2B, B2C, mobile applications, marketing apps, multichannel marketing and CRM) and expertise might be able to support their clients in overcoming key challenges.
Alongside local customers and prospective clients, several international retailers had also been invited to the event, and were asked to share their experiences of working with the Venistar solutions stack.
These companies included Geox, whose I.T. Supply-Chain Manager, Fabio Lazzarotto, shared his own experience and insights on how the business has been benefiting from a long-term market oriented partnership with the Venistar team. His presentation was centred around sharing information regarding Geox’s “Digital Innovation” project.
Geox Spa is an industrial company active in both footwear and apparel, operating under the brand Geox, and distributed all over the world through wholesale and retail channels. Geox manufactures more than 17 million pairs of shoes and more than 4 million garments each year, covering the international market in 103 countries. The company has a network of more than 1.000 stores and a workforce of about 8.000 employees. Its Supply-Chain partners total around 700 producers worldwide. Geox cooperates with more than 60 finished goods suppliers for Footware, Leather accessories including bags, belts, etc. and, 15 apparel suppliers, all distributed in different geographic areas including: Far East, India, Morocco, Europe and Italy. Geox also manufactures its own outsoles and uppers that are produced within its own factories.
To handle this complexity, the company turned to Venistar’s SCM (supply-chain management) solution.
Geox’s supply chain process is today managed by 100 internal user members of design & development, production and logistic teams, plus 700 external users that operate across the Supply-Chain. Working with the Venistar solution, the company has realised benefits in the areas of dynamic data collection and visibility, time management, quality and accuracy of data, and a general lead-time reduction from suppliers’ abilities to now enter and execute processes dynamically in a single connected environment.
The Venistar SCM solution is integrated directly in both Geox’s AS400-based ERP solution and the SAP-AFS (Apparel Footwear Solution) ERPthat is used by their Diadora Sports brand – a sister brand to Geox. Previous to the implementation, Geox suppliers developed and shared the call-off data via fax and email, which on occasion was inaccurate and often out of date. Today Geox controls the entire end-to-end process and has taken direct control of the Supply-Chain to enable accuracy and responsiveness. All data entered is available 24/7 and is entered in real-time, dynamically interfaced with all users both at Geox and across its extended Supply-Chain partners.
Geox also utilises the FlexPLM solution for its creative design and development, and, as Fabio explained, is currently working toward fully integrating both the PLM & ERP solutions. Realistically, as readers of WhichERP and WhichPLM will know, this will be a multi-year journey – but one that will enable the business to eventually operate a seamless end-to-end processing model.
We also heard a presentation from Adriano Bon, Replay CTO, whose implementation of Venistar FashionAble Enterprise solutions has taken the business 9 months to complete and now includes 4000 product styles per season that are feeding over 500 Replay agents’ iPads from around the world and supporting Collections Orders and B2B Reorders for about 600 customers. As well as working in countries like Japan, China and the UK, the company is also using the Venistar solution to support its partnership arrangement with Barcelona football club, with many of its footballing stars supporting the brand.
Some key facts on Replays sales organisational usage of the solution included:
- Customer Service: 40 users
- Show Rooms: 20 users
- Regional usage: Germany, France, Spain, USA, HK. HK with 40 users, European agents with 200 users
- Agencies: 12 (including 50 subagent users)
- B2B Customers with 600 users
At an even higher level, the Replay team use around 250 iPads with a full native digital collection book and orders iOS app, and are already developing over 40,000 orders. The business designs around 4,000 styles per season from 8 brands and operates from 6 legal entities.
Using Venistar’s solutions, Replay have been able to establish a single platform that can support the needs of its entire sales and distribution chain – agents, agencies, show rooms, regional offices and B2B customers. With the solution in place, the company has been able to retire or replace multiple legacy tools and technologies, and bring interfaces up to date at the same time as developing complete integration to their ERP solution (SAP-AFS).
Finally, Venistar’s partners had the opportunity to contribute to the event.
Alan Sharpe, VP of Europe for Retail Pro, confirmed that Venistar is a certified distributor and systems integration for their leading global Point of Sale Solution. Today, Retail Pro is used in more than 52,000 stores across 87 countries, and support 18 different languages. According to Alan, their partnership with Venistar is built on a sharing of best-in-class processes, and a relationship that permits their solutions to be fully integrated.
Also present was Robin Smith from Dutch company Intersolve, who specialise in the provision of customer engagement solutions like loyalty schemes, E-Couponing, pre-payment / gift cards, and mobile wallets. Intersolve’s Gift card solution has been interfaced into the Venistar solution stack including Retail Pro, further expanding on the company’s retail-specific stable.
The meeting concluded with a pleasant trip around the Amsterdam canals, enjoying the warm weather, and taking in the famous sights of the city with retail firmly in mind.