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Slalom Consulting business process management, process inventory, process-led design

Mapping a path to international expansion

When a large-scale fashion retailer wanted to enhance its merchandise delivery process, we helped map a path to international expansion.

In order to improve efficiency, delivery quality, and strategic flexibility across its existing and future operations, a large-scale fashion retailer was looking to embrace a process-led approach to design and delivery of merchandise. The idea was that a thorough documentation of the company’s processes would allow its business and technology teams to work together more closely—and more proactively—on business initiatives.

To start, the retailer evaluated its existing process architecture, an area that hadn’t received consistent attention across the organization. What turned up was a decentralized view of process that was more reactive than proactive. There had also been limited reuse of previously documented processes, with no single repository or consistent documentation standards.

Standardized process methodology
Process maturity assessment
Organizational change management

Charting a course

Joining forces with our Seattle and Denver offices, the client launched a multi-year project that began with defining a process inventory and a standardized process methodology, and identifying an enterprise process mapping tool. This led to the use of an industry-standard modeling notation—which illustrated all business processes in the form of a flowchart-like diagram.

The team also performed a process maturity assessment to understand how advanced the company’s processes were, their strengths and weaknesses, and where improvements could be made. The key was to allow the business and technology groups to identify and close gaps more quickly.

Shining a light on process

Over the course of our joint exploration, we:

  • documented over 450 business processes;

  • established a centralized, web-based repository accessible to the entire organization;

  • held open houses to introduce employees to the concepts and advantages of business process documentation;

  • helped over 150 of the company’s business professionals learn the capabilities of a process-based approach.

Interest increased across the company as our team showed the importance of process in supporting various business initiatives. At the same time it clarified the need to develop a framework for governing and managing process across the organization.

Through our partnership with the client we were able to break down traditional business silos by providing a holistic end-to-end picture of its organization. This helped connect the necessary dots across business and technology teams, depicting key interrelationships and clearly identifying who does what, and when.

450+ processes documented
Web-based process repository
Trained 150+ employees in process approach​

A new stamp in the passport

With those insights under its belt, the retailer used its process-oriented approach to support a number of new business initiatives, including the significant goal of international expansion. Keeping process at the forefront, its teams were able to quickly identify gaps and understand business requirements early on, which ultimately helped the company meet its aggressive store launch schedule.

“Process-led design is now the cornerstone of all development efforts within our department,” said the company’s Director of Supply Chain and Fulfillment. She added that, going forward, “We will leverage process-led design to an even greater degree as we outline the many states of business we’ll live in, until [the entire company] migrates to new versions of warehouse management and inventory systems.”

Looking back on our partnership with this (now) international retailer, we’re proud to have helped such a well-established brand redefine its strengths, expand into new territory, and establish its vision of being a process-led organization.

“Thank you for your work on the process mapping around month-end close. It helped us walk through those tough ‘who-does-what-when?’ conversations.”
Sr. Project Manager

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