‘We manage 200-300 products at any one time, the SKU count explodes when you expand these individual products across colour, size and fit. Protex is an apparel specific solution and understands this matrix therefore the way it presents and manages our data helps us to see products in the right way. The Stock Planning tool shows us the stock we have, the number of customer orders we have, the sales orders and the estimated forecast for demand. This picture of a product is what drives our business. If products outperform or under perform this is all fed into the system and cascaded to the teams from merchandising to product development to marketing, enabling them to decide the best course of action.’
Navigating Challenges with Protex
Gill is the world leading marine apparel brand, sponsoring some of the biggest names in Sailing and Watersports. Founded in dinghy sailing; Nick Gill first started dinghy sailing when he was five and this inspired him to create the Gill business known today. With 45 years’ experience of technical clothing Gill, offer the perfect balance of performance and protection. During this time Gill has grown, meeting consumer needs both on and off the water around the world.
Datel has been the trusted provider of Gill’s core business management solution since 2002, with the Protex ERP Solution integrated with Sage 200 Financials. We catch up with Ian Poore, COO to hear how Protex is still fundamental to the core of Gill’s business operations and how the solution has helped navigate the challenges of the pandemic and the subsequent new normal.
‘As a company we have felt the impact of the pandemic and Brexit and still are with lockdowns continuing to be in place around the world. What has been crucial is how we have responded to these and the Protex solution has certainly played a part in helping us to do this. The pandemic has seen elite sailing events, regatta’s all cancelled and this has an immediate impact on our sales, coupled with the closure of retail. However, we have harnessed the growth in our own ecommerce sales and expansion of selling through other ecommerce channels.’
Ian continues, ‘Crucial to our business has been the ability to have complete control of our inventory with a clear and accurate picture at any one time. Protex has given this to the business and has aided our ability to reduce inventory holdings and improve cost efficiency. This means we have the correct level of stock to support ecommerce sales and the differing store openings across the 4 regions we operate in – UK, USA, Europe and Other including Australia, New Zealand. The integration of Protex with our ecommerce platforms ensures stock availability is refreshed and accurate which is vital to ensure we maximise revenue. A missed sale or a disgruntled customer is not great for business.’
‘Hand in hand with confidence in our inventory Protex manages our warehouse, supporting both bulk and consumer orders through to despatch. When we introduced this element of the Protex solution, we gained benefits in the utilisation of our warehouse space and enhanced productivity. Each day our pick requirements differ and Protex manages this process effectively. We have the right products in the right places to maximise the team’s efficiencies. For example, our top sellers are closer to the despatch area as will be picked more frequently than others. Simple, but vital components to streamlining our operations.’
‘As a business that sources products from overseas and exports the outcome of Brexit was another challenge for us. The team at Datel helped us to meet the initial challenges of managing Customs and Excise information onto invoices etc. We now need to consider how best to manage our warehousing and courier integrations to further support this change.’
‘During this challenging time knowing we had a robust, safe system which our team could access from anywhere has eliminated any stresses regarding business continuity in that sense. We had the information available to us to manage the challenges the pandemic brought.’
Ian touches on the working relationship with Protex, ‘we have been with Datel for a long time and during that time we have implemented updates most significantly a few years back when we moved to the latest version of Protex. We have also introduced the Protex Business Intelligence tool, which provides us with a picture of our data. We need to have data available detailing product sales, performance, forward orders etc. to drive our decisions and therefore our business.’