Blackberrys is counted among the top men’s suit brands in India for its unique range. With growing clientele, it has sustained its position among the top three domestic menswear brands in India (and the first to introduce off-the-peg suits). It operates in all retail formats pan-Indian viz. multi-brand outlets, ecommerce and large format branded stores carrying its three range of menswear: Mainline, Urban and Casual. Incepted in 1991 in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, under the leadership of the Mohan brothers. Today, Blackberrys is a one stop shop for every man’s wardrobe needs with 217 exclusive stores across 115 cities.
Relying on technology to boost growth
Talking about the brand’s tech evolution, Hemant Gupta, CFO, Blackberrys says the company has been always been tech savvy. When it came to enhancing store experience, it readily moved to IT partners such as Ivalua. With annual spend of $100 million, Blackberrys introduced Ivalua in 2016 across six of it’s spend categories: new store projects, packaging, gifting & events, visual merchandise, contract labour & it infra and trade purchases. By taking this process online, they were able to achieve centralisation of data, further develop supplier database and receive reports from the system to properly monitor spend. For procurement, it offers a fair and transparent process when selecting a particular vendor because everything is now online with e-sourcing.
For the company, cost-cutting is no longer the solution for sustainable profitability; the key to success is finding creative ways to optimise it. With a total annual spend of $9.8 million in 2016 and $19.5 million in 2017, after the introduction of Ivalua’s solution, the company has been able to achieve year on year savings of 14.3 per cent in 2016 and 10.8 per cent in 2017.
The most important achievement in the process has been to bring the purchase of raw materials for apparel manufacture – fabric, interlining and buttons – and the quality parameters expected from historical vendors, into the online space: With certain kinds of base articles, they need to ensure these are NOS (never out of stock) as they work towards two seasons – autumn/winter and spring/summer. Whenever a customer visits a store, around 20-25 per cent of its merchandise, which features in the mainline range, are always available in store. Blackberrys has been able to identify certain vendors to deliver those base fabrics and trims so that it can reduce down procurement costs from its historical higher levels.
Blackberrys operate on a production cycle of 120 days, so whatever it is planning for each season requires three to four months to build up that stock. Around 60 per cent of the merchandise is needed in one go to launch a new season range and feature stock across all its stores – to manage that supply chain efficiently is key to avoid blocking its working capital and mitigate against increasing administration costs in warehouse management.
Seeing substantial results, next step for the company will be to expand the adoption of Ivalua solutions. This year, they plan to introduce procurement to purchase order to achieve end to end tracking of what services have been awarded to suppliers. The dynamics of the supply chain requirements for retail are changing daily. In that scenario, they are open to further enhancing digital capability for strategic sourcing.