Most of us take for granted that we can walk into a store and find just about whatever we want on the shelves. However, making tens of thousands of items -- in their varied sizes, colors and flavors -- consistently available is a complicated process involving not just the retailer but the entire supply chain. Optimizing the "what, when and how much" of the supply chain adds another layer of complexity.

Hyperion is a global leader in business performance management solutions used by many of the world's largest retailers and consumer brands to increase profitability by managing the cost, price and flow of goods. For example Belk, Inc., based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest privately owned department stores company in the United States. Belk uses Hyperion applications to quickly analyze sales trends, inventory levels, margins and markdowns across 225 fashion department stores in 14 Southeastern states. Belk shares the information with its merchants so they can work together to respond quickly to inventory shortages or oversupply.

The North Face produces the performance apparel, equipment and footwear of choice for the world's most accomplished climbers, mountaineers, extreme skiers, snowboarders and explorers. The approximately 12,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) offered by The North Face are produced by a global network of manufacturing partners and sold through thousands of outdoor resellers and in the company's own retail and outlet stores.The North Face uses Hyperion solutions to orchestrate its supply chain so efficiently that it has achieved an on-time delivery rate of 98 percent to its reseller customers, up from below 50 percent in 2000. In addition, the company reduced excess inventory by 65 percent and closed most of its outlet stores, which has helped increase margins and strengthen its brand.

"Nowhere are the benefits of business performance management more visceral than in managing sales and the supply chain," said Rich Clayton, vice president of product marketing for Hyperion. "When you can't deliver what the customer needs, you may not just lose a sale, you may lose that customer's business entirely. Retaining customers is the lifeblood of any company, and meeting customer needs and expectations absolutely requires managing your company's performance across the board."

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