CXO / IT Leadership , Digital Leadership

How This Indian Fashion Brand Innovates Denim With Tech

Spykar's Rupendra Kumar Nigam on Using INFOR PLM as Part of Digital Transformation
How This Indian Fashion Brand Innovates Denim With Tech
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Keeping up with market trends and evolving customer demands is key for all garment manufacturers. For Spykar Lifestyles, a 30-year-old Indian fashion brand, operational agility is non-negotiable. The company, whose clientele is predominantly college-going students, relies heavily on accurate, real-time inventory and profitability data from its vast distribution network.

Spykar offers a variety of denim styles, catering to both classic and contemporary tastes. This is facilitated through the use of INFOR PLM (Project Lifecycle Management) software, which helps manage design specifics such as fabric, buttons and colors, said Rupendra Kumar Nigam, head of information technology department, Spykar Lifestyles.

With a strong retail market presence, Spykar designs clothing in accordance with market trends. The company has a chain of manufacturers and vendor partners who manufacture and sell the product, using the Spykar brand or their own.

Speed and Data Accuracy

Speed and accuracy in data are critical in the retail sector, particularly for Spykar, which hosts biannual tradeshows to showcase its latest designs. These events are essential for forecasting market demand and aligning with regional trends for the season. The preparation for these tradeshows, such as the upcoming Winter 2024 event, involves meticulous planning and coordination with partners and retailers.

"We show the product as a sample to our partners and retailers, who then go to market with different brands and they compare the price range, the product quality range and in which segments it will fit. There are multiple [denim] brands in the market, and occasionally we see a local unbranded product," Nigam said.

All of this requires advanced planning, speed, accurate data and agility in operations - all driven by a technology solution. Spykar also needed a solution partner who would provide strong support for its software.

Software Milestones

Initially, Spykar used Microsoft Excel to manually keep track of operations, but switched to a popular ERP system after being acquired by the U.K.-based Metdist Group in 2012. This product could deliver on key business objectives, such as analyzing data for decision-making and reporting from any location.

Challenges arose when the Indian government introduced the goods and services tax, GST, and the ERP solution was not updated to comply with the new regulations. The IT team had to revert to Excel and the previous solution.

Eventually, the software vendor did release a GST update in 2018 and Spykar's IT team switched back to the ERP solution. But they faced other issues with the product.

"The structure of the product did not allow for customization, and that impacted the speed of operations, data accuracy and warehouse management," Nigam said.

By early 2019, Spykar was again looking for a solution to replace their ERP solution.

The New Solution

Spykar adopted INFOR PLM after evaluating various solutions in the market. INFOR PLM not only supports customization but also integrates various functions and platforms, including CRM and WhatsApp, enhancing operational efficiency and data accessibility. "Other vendors said they could do this but could not give us the proof of concept," Nigam said.

"INFOR helped us in this integration. Through their multi-tenant cloud, my partners and our employees can access data, based on role and responsibility."

Another key reason for choosing INFOR is its support "in the capacities of OEM, implementation partner and post-implementation care partner."

"The INFOR team was also able to respond to changes in the government tax structure in India (GST). Their whole team is readily assessable," Nigam said.

According to Nigam, switching to the INFOR solution has increased the efficiency of Spykar's design department.

"If we do not give the right product, design, catalogue or tech pack to my production team, they will not be able to prepare for the tradeshow. INFOR PLM tells us instantaneously if any changes are required, and we can prepare for the tradeshow well ahead of time. The data can now be entered and viewed in real time," Nigam said.

Earlier, this process was done manually, with data entry in the Item Master for order creation.

INFOR PLM also supports Lot control, which is a process of tracking every piece of inventory that enters the warehouse by assigning Lot IDs. The warehouse team can now count 80,000 SKUs a day, where it was earlier limited to 25,000 SKUs. This has enhanced customer experience.

"Spykar customers are also happier as they can see what is the stock lying in storage and what is yet to come in," Nigam said.

The e-commerce business has also benefitted as they now have real-time inventory since the INFOR ERP is synced to e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and other marketplace partners. Earlier, a third-party application was used for this purpose, which did not show the inventory data in real time.

"New orders that come in are processed in INFOR in real time and synced with the marketplace portal. So we are able to track all orders from e-commerce sites," Nigam said.

Looking ahead, Spykar is considering RFID implementation for stock taking at the warehouse, the store and at the distributor level.

Top-Driven Approach for Success

ERP will not succeed in an organization "unless it is a top-driven approach," Nigam said. "If it is abandoned by management and left to middle-level managers, it leads to leg pulling and the business suffers. They blame the system for impeding their work," he said.

It is essential for ERP owners to know the business processes. "They should be able to work with the business or ground team to understand the requirements and the pain points, how to convert the process into digital format, and how to execute at the right time and right manner," he said.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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