SAP drives Japanese expansion

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SAP drives Japanese expansion

Daniel Thomas
Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo is using SAP's e-business platform to support its rapid expansion across the UK. The UK is being used as a trial for its planned entry into further foreign markets.

The company, which opened four stores in London in September, chose the mySAP.com platform after realising its Japanese legacy systems would be unusable in the UK.

Integration between conflicting systems is often difficult in ERP projects, but Uniqlo's IT director Simon Thomas said a "simple set of interfaces" allows the two systems to communicate easily.

In fact, not having to completely assimilate the original system into the UK operation made life easier. "It is often easier to start a system from scratch," said Thomas. "Companies very rarely have the opportunity to do this."

The scalability of the SAP software was key, Thomas explained. "We are planning to expand rapidly, opening at least 50 UK stores by 2003," he said. "The scale of the SAP product means we will not be caught out by the speed of expansion."

Uniqlo is looking at a number of other markets including Europe, the US and the Pacific countries and hopes to use SAP to support further expansion.

"We are using the UK as an experiment to see how SAP works," Thomas said. "This is part of a pre-planned global investment."

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