Managing Director – The Planning Factory Ltd
“John.. is a very complete businessman” – Lord Maclaurin of Knebworth
John Hobson graduated with a B.A. Hons in French in 1982, having spent a year living and working in France. He then joined Jaeger, part of the Coats Viyella group, as a graduate trainee. This involved experience in the Retail, Wholesale and IT divisions and was followed by promotions to Assistant Retail Operations Controller, Special Projects Officer and finally Retail Operations Controller.
In 1987 he joined Tesco as a Marketing Services Project Manager responsible for improved financial planning and reporting systems for the Home’n’Wear sector. As well as designing and implementing a new planning system, he was seconded to the Welsh Office to investigate the marketing of Welsh food, reporting directly to Peter Walker, the Secretary of State.
In 1989 he joined Kurt Salmon Associates as a management consultant and was promoted to Senior Consultant in 1991. Specialising in Financial & Merchandise Planning and forecasting in the ECR/Quick Response area, he worked on evaluating, designing and implementing Merchandise Planning systems in Europe and the UK.
John was responsible for the project control, design and implementation of planning systems for Bally Europe, Aragones (a Spanish swimwear manufacturer), Olivers Shoes, Cobra Sports, Grampian Retail and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. He also lead a Quick Response decision support implementation for Hoie, a Norwegian home textiles manufacturer and participated in a Quick Response systems definition for Valero, a French lingerie manufacturer.
In addition to the above he completed an evaluation of an allocation and replenishment model for Sears UK, produced a Benelux market entry strategy study for London Fog USA, designed an international market research model for Fruit of the Loom, and designed and programmed a distribution facility cost model for Time Life Books in Holland.
He was also responsible for marketing KSA’s “Buying for Profit” training courses and participated in lecturing on them, as well as co-presenting Finance for Non-Financial Management courses for Marks & Spencer and Coats Viyella.
In 1993 John set up Leda Systems International Ltd. providing consultancy in Decision Support to retailers and manufacturers. Clients included Bally Europe, The Limited, Makro, Budgens Supermarkets, IMS (Dunn & Bradstreet), Country Holidays, Kurt Salmon Associates and Pennine Computer Services. Solutions provided to Bally, Budgens, IMS, and The Limited involved multi-dimensional database solutions which he designed and programmed himself.
After working with Pennine as a consultant over a period of 18 months, he was asked to join them as Decision Support Systems Product Manager and did so in November 1994. His primary responsibility was to design and to market Pennine’s new merchandise planning system, Prism Planner which was rated “Best Merchandise Planning Product” from central systems vendors in an independent survey in Retail Week. In addition to this he was heavily involved in the design and sales of improved data access tools, with particular emphasis on usability.
In 1996 John set up The Planning Factory Ltd to provide consultancy and fully implemented solutions to retailers in Europe and the Far East, in the areas of Merchandise Planning and Financial Budgeting.
The Planning Factory’s aim is to demystify the planning/ budgeting process, and to ensure that clients end up with solutions that meet the needs of their overall business strategy.
The Planning Factory’s clients include VF Corporation (Merchandise Planning Consultancy), Carrefour (TM1 Impact Planner implementation), J Sainsbury (TM1 Impact Planner Implementations in GM and TU Clothing), Billabong (Merchandise Planning Training), Habitat (Merchandise Planning Consultancy), Poundland(TM1 Merchandise Planning System Implementation),TM Lewin (Merchandise Planning Audit), Harrods (Brand Analysis), The Peacock Group (IBM Makoro Implementation), Thresher Group (TM1 Merchandise Planning and Financial Budgeting Consultancy), Dixons Stores Group (Merchandise Planning Consultancy), Kurt Salmon Associates (Merchandise Planning Process Lead for Aeon,Japan and Mothercare), Monsoon / Accessorize (Merchandise Planning Consultancy)Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts (Merchandise Planning Consultancy), Kurt Geiger (Merchandise Planning Implementation and TM1 Sales Analysis), Carvela (TM1 Sales Analysis), Jewson (Design & Implementation of a TM1 Financial Budgeting System), Mitsubishi UK (Design & Implementation of a TM1 Financial Budgeting System), Allied Irish Bank (TM1 ABC system), Applix (Retained Consultancy) and Scan Coin Omser (Market research analysis).
He initiated the Merchandise Planning Professionals Linked-In group which currently has over 15,000 members worldwide and wrote a monthly column on Merchandise Planning for Retek’s retail.com web site.
John has contributed articles on EIS systems and Merchandise Planning to Retail Week and Retail Automation and has been invited to speak at various conferences including “Retail Days” (Soysal – Istanbul), “Merchandise Planning in a multi-dimensional world” (Applix) “A Common Sense Approach to Merchandise Planning” (Pennine) “Towards Just-In-Time” (The Textile Institute) “Decision Support Systems” (Spectra) “Providing Business Intelligence for Merchandising Solutions” (Pilot)
John speaks fluent French, basic German and Italian, limited Spanish and can order a beer in Japanese and Greek.