Ahlers AG

Retail & Fashion Manufacturer
Microsoft Dynamics AX

“We are continually moving our IT into the Windows world, with the familiar and uniform operability and integration with applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook in place, which also presents numerous advantages for our employees.”

Uwe Dubbert, Ahlers Managing Director & CIO

Business Needs

Pierre Cardin, Baldessarini, Pioneer, Otto Kern. That’s quite a roll call of the best premium men’s fashion brands available on the high street today. The one thing they have in common is they’re manufactured and marketed to premium retailers across the world by Ahlers AG.

Ahlers is one of the largest listed creators of men’s fashion. Although it’s been operating for over 90 years, the business has keenly focused on clothing the modern man with pieces from exciting collections. It does this by being an innovative and flexible operator, agile enough to stay ahead of trends and changes in each of its markets, and is supported by a financially stable position built over almost a century.

With nine clothing brands in the portfolio which are supplied to countries throughout Europe, the numerous departments which support the company’s operations mean the complex must be made simple. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is at the heart of any successful organization and, as with Ahlers AG, enables it to retain a competitive edge in fast-moving marketplaces.

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Because its customers constantly demand new, frequently updated items, Ahlers knew its ERP system needed to be renewed and upgraded from what had quickly become obsolete existing technology. It was to be an investment in high-performance software with functionality which could manage and deliver a myriad of business processes. The change had, in the words of Project Manager Michaela Kestner, “ambitious aims”.

The potential was exciting: to empower every Ahlers employee to use a more detailed scope of work in running key business processes within the IT architecture and framework in place and evolve it. The group also intended to improve intercompany relationships, including back- office and front-office, fully integrate Office and offer access to the software to external partners.

Solution

Technology changes faster than most other parts of everyday life these days, so setting a challenge to be “technologically future-proof” was not something to be undertaken lightly.

Ahlers’s final choice, Microsoft Dynamics AX along with IT partner AlfaPeople, provides Ahlers with the capability to comprehensively and confidently run the whole portfolio of business systems from one place, making the best of powerful cloud technology to drive agility and growth.

Uwe Dubbert at Ahlers Group explains: “In our selection process, we conducted a targeted search for a standardized ERP application, which is suited to our industry, and which provides the conditions for internationalization and is technologically future-proof.”

Today the transparency and optimization that Microsoft Dynamics AX gives to each business process, enables faster decision-making. One example, certified accountants have direct access to information, enabling a much clearer understanding of the necessary information.

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Real-time insights, merchandise management and alignment of technologies like mobile basket check-out with full promotions integration, all combine with an intuitive and user-friendly interface to deliver business processes which meet the operational and functional demands of this fast-moving international businesses.

The amount of data available for today’s top fashion retailers is overwhelming: transactions, supply chain, buying behaviors, trends, multi-channel sales and global coverage are just a few of the data sources companies can use. Power BI helps Ahlers to bring all various data sources in one place and keep the data current allowing the management to make the right decisions at the right time.

To engage with their stakeholder whether they are employees, customers or shareholders, Ahlers has implemented Dynamics CRM to maintain long-term relationships by delivering exceptional experiences based on knowledge and trust.

Benefits

The intended goals were clear from Ahlers’s initial ERP search, and Microsoft Dynamics AX has delivered:

Full Microsoft Office 365 integration

Microsoft Dynamics AX integrates with the Microsoft Office 365 product, which is an essential piece of software conducting Ahlers’s daily business. Simple tasks like exporting customer data to Excel spreadsheets for analysis has become easier, no longer a barrier to working. Standard features like sorting and filtering the data customer data provide tangible improvements to all the various internal business processes.

“We are continually moving our IT into the Windows world, with the familiar and uniform operability and integration with applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook in place, which also presents numerous advantages for our employees.” Uwe Dubbert, Ahlers Managing Director & CIO

360-degree supply chain usability

A tangible benefit with this ERP software is that it enables customers, vendors or other external users efficiency and greater visibility, with access to the system. Requests like real-time delivery status, inventory positions or purchase orders are processed more quickly and easily. As expected, the access provided to these groups is limited and role based, so that Ahlers can manage and facilitate a secure business portal. This powerful way of working makes it easy to share information or operate transactions, no matter the time of day or location in the world.

Planning for the future

It’s a challenge for any competitive and ambitious business today: to devise, implement and derive benefit from a technology solution which is flexible and adaptable to potential changes and for what the future may bring. Microsoft Dynamics AX is delivering value to the business more quickly than ever before. It allows Ahlers to concentrate on innovative improvements and scenarios which will deliver both dramatic results in terms of return on investment and transformative growth. Microsoft Dynamics AX is backed up by a genuinely useful, flexible, scalable and stable cloud technology made up of a combination of first-rate design, performance, functionality and delivering ease of use.

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