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Few companies span the worlds of sports and fashion as admirably as adidas. For decades the company has not only produced high quality sports shoes and apparel for the most discerning athletes – it’s done it with style. So much style in fact, the famous triple stripe has become a fashion statement for everyone from musicians to models.

The adidas Group has a multitude of brands in apparel, footwear, and hard goods that help customers stay on top of their game and looking great. The company has always been on a mission to provide athletes with the best possible equipment. But maintaining a global leadership position in such a competitive industry is not easy.

“It’s all about the love of sports, its uniqueness, its legacy, and the constant drive for innovation,” said Kai Bienmueller, IT Director for Wholesale ERP Solutions at adidas Group. To bring the best products to market each and every season, the company has to know what consumers want and when.

Recently adidas has introduced Springblade and boost technology, two major innovations in the running market. It’s also collaborating with musician, producer, and fashion designer, Pharrell Williams, on a bold new collection of the legendary Stan Smith tennis shoe. Stan Smiths have been cooler than cool since the 80’s, and continue to be one of the most popular selling sneakers of all time.

“We are growing dramatically and very positively in retail and especially in the e-commerce space,” said Bienmueller. However, a big challenge facing adidas Group, and the entire industry, is omnichannel commerce. Consumers expect brands and retailers to offer a seamless shopping and buying experience in-store, online, and on mobile devices.

To meet this demand, adidas Group is implementing the SAP Fashion Management application running on SAP HANA. The adidas Group, along with Luxottica, Giorgio Armani, and Tommy Hilfiger, worked side-by-side to develop the new application with SAP.

SAP Fashion Management helps bring together wholesale, manufacturing, and retail business operations onto a single platform. “With SAP Fashion Management we will finally have one flow from the factory to the store or our ecommerce customer,” said Bienmueller.

Big Data and predictive analytics are also important initiatives for adidas Group. Its innovative mi adidas tool allows consumers to customize shoes and apparel with colors and features of their choice. Knowing what styles and colors consumers are buying off the shelf as well as what they are creating on their own gives adidas real-time insight into what’s hot now and what to anticipate in the near future.

“With SAP Fashion Management, and especially with the capabilities of SAP HANA, we can get more information about customer demands,” said Bienmueller. SAP solutions are also helping to reduce complexity for adidas Group, which is leading to both time and cost savings. “I estimate a savings for the nightly replenishment run of at least 50% – just for the fact of lower complexity,” said Bienmueller. He expects further time and cost savings when the company moves its SAP ERP application onto SAP HANA.

With SAP on its team, adidas Group has the systems and insight it needs to keep winning the game in sports and style – good news for the superstars on the field and trendsetters on the streets.

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