About Rossignol

Rossignol was founded in 1907, and is today a leading winter sports equipment manufacturer, with business including skis, boots, bindings, bicycles and apparel. Products are provided to the market under numerous brands such as Rossignol, Dynastar, Look and Lange. While having a global presence with sites all over the world, Rossignol is based in France and owned by private equity firm Altor.

  • Industry: Sports Equipment Manufacturing
  • Founded: 1907
  • Company size: 340 Million €
  • Markets served: Global 

Challenge – High seasonality and long operating cycle resulting in cash flow issues

The ski manufacturing business is by nature a highly seasonal business with a long operating cycle. While sales is mainly focused during winter, production is done during spring/summer. This led to an imbalance when it comes to incoming and outgoing payments and thus created a strained liquidity situation during parts of the year. Rossignol also had a legacy to focus more on growth and taking markets shares rather than working capital and cash flow, which was reflected in the organization by low cash awareness.

Furthermore, as production during the season is very limited – forecasting is key, both when it comes to hitting sales targets but also to avoid old stock. Since a large share of the assortment is replaced every year, thus lacking historic data, good communication between sales and operations is crucial. A formalized sales and operation planning process was only partly implemented leading to large differences in performance between business areas.

The aim of the project was to provide a cash culture within the organization, establish common ways of working, and reduce working capital.

What was done

Following an initial define phase, where potentials were assessed and action plans set up, workstreams with assigned teams were formed to cover all working capital areas, addressing both quick-wins and structural changes. A few of the main actions:

  • Support in setting up cross-functional S&OP meetings, resulting in better alignment between teams and functions within the organization
  • Review and updating of the forecasting process, resulting in better understanding of the current situation and enabled common way of working
  • Assortment analysis and review of current assortment management process, resulting in an updated segmentation and process with regards to both turnover and gross margin
  • Analysis of purchasing behavior of traded goods, resulting in an updated sourcing process to enable optimization of stock levels
  • Analysis of inventory aging profile and review of the process for proactively managing old stock
  • Detailed analysis of supplier and customer invoices, resulting in terms renegotiation, the introduction of a new collection process, and follow-up tools and templates
  • Overall working capital training and coaching of project participants

Effect

The organization adopted a true cash culture and included capital effects in business decisions. Cross company collaboration and communication was improved and by the end of the project, monthly S&OP meetings were held in a structured way. Furthermore, important processes were formalized to enable common ways of working, and a working capital monitor was implemented to enable frequent follow-up of performance and transparency.

During the course of the project, the working capital performance was improved. However, the covid-19 pandemic hit the recreational business hard, posing new severe challenges for the entire industry to prioritize. Although facing these challenges, with customers being out of cash and unable to meet the agreed payment terms, the improved working capital prior to the pandemic left Rossignol with a strengthened bargaining power towards financiers, such as banks. 

The project provided us with a foundation and structure to manage working capital. Together with the management consultants we made the change happen, and now the different teams within the company are working together to handle the pandemic crisis. Without the project we would be in a worse situation.

        Fredric Regera,
        Vice President
        Transformation, Finance & IT, Rossignol

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Erik Påhlson
Manager of services in Profitability Management
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