Headquarters: Manhattan Beach, California
Industry: Consumer goods
Employees: More than 3,000
Revenue: US$2 billion in 2010
Oracle products and services: Oracle
Database 10g; PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0
financial management and supply chain
management applications; PeopleSoft
Real Estate Management; Oracle Business
Intelligence Enterprise Edition; Oracle
governance, risk, and compliance
standardized its platform on Oracle
Database and has upgraded to Oracle’s
PeopleSoft Enterprise financial management and supply chain management applications hosted by Oracle
On Demand’s cloud services to add
new operational efficiencies. Skechers
is also implementing Oracle business intelligence (BI) solutions to gain
enterprisewide insight. With management capitalizing on these and other
solutions from Oracle, Skechers is
poised to make a bold step in the footwear industry over the next two years.
“We operate in a fast and ever-changing industry, and we
need the right information to make correct decisions as we
move forward,” says Skechers Chief Financial Officer and Chief
Operating Officer David Weinberg. “We have well over 3,000
employees and well over 300 locations. We need to harness all
that data and be able to make sense of the data as it comes in.
Moving from a manually based system into data warehousing
and business intelligence is making us a lot more agile as we
manage and to grow,” says Sarkar.
KEEPING PACE WITH THE MARKET
Today’s retail industry is operating at breakneck speed, with the
rise of “fast fashion” trends and shorter fashion cycles, and the
footwear industry is no exception. Like other fashion sectors,
footwear trends hit hard and last for a very short period of time.
For a company to be competitive in that environment, managers must anticipate customers’ needs. To do so, they must arm
themselves with knowledge.
“You want to know exactly how your current styles are doing,
how your product lines are doing, and what your customers are
looking for,” says Mainak Sarkar, director of financial systems at
Skechers. “The data you need to make decisions has to be very
clear and transparent, and available at the tips of your fingers.
This requires an up-to-date, responsive technology infrastructure
that can provide immediate reports creating up-to-date insights
into our customers’ preferences and market trends.”
Skechers operates 280 active stores in the U.S. and 44 inter-
nationally. Skechers products are also sold through department
stores, specialty stores, athletic retailers, and boutiques as well
as catalog and internet retailers. All told, Skechers distributes
more than 3,000 styles of footwear through wholesale channels,
its Website, and branded retail stores. The Skechers brand is
also licensed to third-party companies. With such a complex
business infrastructure, data transparency is vital.
However, a major business challenge facing the leadership at
Skechers was the lack of visibility and analysis of financial data.
This would hinder a move into a competitive new market, as
executives would not have the information needed to ascertain
whether their daily business decisions were in line with the
company’s new strategy and long-term objectives.
“We needed a 360-degree view of our business in order to
THE RACE FOR EFFICIENCY
Oracle has been an integral part of the IT infrastructure
that supported Skechers as the company went from a small
lifestyle brand to the #2 American footwear company. A
PeopleSoft customer since 1997, Skechers relied on financial and supply chain applications hosted and supported by
Skechers’ in-house finance IT department, led by Sarkar. But
users suffered every time the system needed to be brought
down for an update or a fix. And as Skechers opened more
offices all over the world, business units needed technical
support at all hours. Sarkar wanted to find a way to keep the
system available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and at
the same time to reduce maintenance costs.
Management decided to upgrade to PeopleSoft Enterprise
9.0 financial management and supply chain management
applications, implement Oracle Database as a standard data
repository, and migrate the administrative hosting and support
of the application to Oracle On Demand, judging this to be
simpler, faster, and less expensive than other approaches. As
a result, system users have benefited from zero downtime,
application response time is up by 20 to 25 percent, and staffing costs have been slashed. Users are happy that the system is
up at all hours, and more departments can easily be added to
the financial process. Now, Sarkar can focus on supporting the
company’s growth strategy through new IT initiatives instead of
firefighting technical issues.
“We spent too much time and cost trying to figure out what’s
wrong with the server, why the application died in the middle
of the night, or why somebody’s having trouble accessing it
from Europe. We made the decision that it is best to have this
application hosted by the people who really know about it, and
let them manage it so we can sleep peacefully at night,” says