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See Barriers As Inspiration

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Anton Langeler | IT Director | O'Neill Europe

The global CEO—not from O'Neill; his boss, the global CEO of the complete group—said, “Anton, you see barriers as inspiration. I have a challenge for you.” I said, "I get a challenge, because we can do everything." Do you know what his challenge was? His challenge was, O'Neill works a lot with independent retailers and the O'Neill organization is far away from the retailers, because they work with independent distributors. So, you have two ways, two layers in your company, where you have no access to data. Then the challenge starts. I said, "Within five days, I will build the first solution, and I will exceed your expectations." He said, "It is absolutely not possible," because he's coming from a retail organization. I said, "We try to give more than you expected." Now, the challenge starts. Based on that, I came back; I gave the story to my team. I asked independent retailers to give me information. I can tell you, if you gather information from independent retailers, it is a terrible thing because they do not have the same products, the same product groups, or the same color codes. Everything is different. We convert every data of the customers—of the retailers—back, and we put it in a list. We combine it with pictures, and we combine it with the stock. Then I surprise them. They've never seen that. Even if [we give] a retailer full access, we have more visibility than him, because we have the pictures and everything. What was the lesson learned in this case? If we know more about our products, how that it is selling on the floor, that means—if you can make higher sell-through on the floor—that he earns more money, that his shop is more merchandised, that his is shop has more renewals. If he has more turnover in his shop, he's also happy. It means we, as IT, we are so much in touch, and we try to give love to the retailers. I'm 100 percent sure, the people in my team always do the same. I believe there are no barriers. If you have the right tools in place, and if you would like to go to the end result, you will find a way, because you have the data. Maybe you translate it, maybe you make tables in between; but you get the results. At that time, we are in touch with the real figures, what the consumer buys in the store. Based on that, we bring that information back to the collection. There are so many tools in place to do the work correctly. Now everybody is happy. I think we have one of the best sell-through information [sets] of the companies.

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