Supply chain is a prime area for innovation in the apparel industry. By optimising efficiency, visibility and responsiveness when things don’t go as planned, businesses can drive customer acquisition and loyalty in a fiercely competitive marketplace. While the sector has been relatively slow to adopt supply chain technology, businesses have a growing interest in implementing tools and processes to transform their operations. Suresh Chugh, GM & Head- Logistics, Raymond Apparel, in an interview with Upamanyu Borah highlights how a streamlined supply chain is fundamental to getting huge volumes of ever-changing SKUs to the market quickly.
Organisation and Operations
Incepted in 1925, Raymond is a diversified group with majority business interests in Textile & Apparel sectors as well as presence across diverse segments such as FMCG, Engineering and Prophylactics in national and international markets. With over 1100 exclusive stores spread across 380+ cities and an expansive network of over 20,000 points-of-sale in India, Raymond is a textile powerhouse with state of the art manufacturing infrastructure, best industry practices that has raised the bar of Indian textile manufacturing. Over the years, Raymond has emerged as a preferred choice for top design houses across 55 countries. Raymond is also an aggressive player in the ready to wear apparel segment with reputed brands such as Park Avenue, Raymond Ready To Wear ColorPlus & Parx that are a part of its product portfolio.
|Supply Chain Challenges at Raymond||Solutions for overcoming them|
|Imbalanced load from month to month and week to week||Timely space and resources planning helps in managing the situation|
|Bin space shortage during peak months||Creation of virtual bins in GR area and increasing the bin capacity temporarily helps a lot during such situations|
|Production delays||Monthly docking plans are made and weekly follow-ups are done for plan v/s actual receipts. Alerts are raised by the planning team to ensure that connectivity is fulfiled as per the plan or commitment|
|Last mile delays, pilferages and misrouting of consignments||Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) planning and implementation, Application Programming Interface (API) integration, weekly meetings with all Logistics Service Providers (LSPs), load balancing, LSP ranking basis their performance, etc|
|No real-time visibility of orders and consignments||API integration and FMS implementation|
Factors driving tech-enabled Procurement
E-Auction, automation, strong vendor base, stringent selection of vendors/suppliers and their integration through communication protocols such as Application Programming Interface (API), is enabling the growth in procurement in India. Implementation of technology at all stages, right from selection of vendor, ordering process, order tracking, bills processing, etc. has lead to improvement in the end-to-end procurement process.
Tech-enabled Procurement: Requirements
Things to be kept in mind and implemented while going for digital transformation in procurement:
- Reallocate resources from operational focus to value creation.
- Embrace digital transformation with open mind.
- Accuracy of data.
- Analytics-based decision making.
- Focus on customer centric service design and delivery.
- Upgrade skills of the executives involved in the procurement function from time to time.
Challenges in technology adoption
Human tendency is always to resist any kind of change unless its real benefits are communicated timely and in a proper manner.
Raymond follows various best practices in the supply chain such as Advanced Ship Notice (ASN) implementation, E-Auction, path optimisation for better picking efficiency and productivity, inventory storage optimisation for maximum usage of available space, improvement of inventory velocity and inventory turns by segregation of old season merchandise and liquidation. Besides, to implement Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) and lean logistics, latest technologies including voice picking, sorters, etc. are deployed.
Apart from this, LSP ranking system helps to get best results on last mile deliveries. Further, implementation of strategies such as Genba Kaizen and 5s further helps in cost reduction and proper housekeeping as well as safety.
After GST implementation, Raymond has been working on network optimisation and planning to consolidate its network structure which was earlier to address the specific zone-wise bottlenecks regarding permit issues, CST benefits, etc. We are focussing a lot on inventory management and working towards improvement of inventory turns by implementing various strategies. Raymond believes in removing bottlenecks and brings agility into the system to provide better services to its internal and external customers. We are working on various solutions and in the process of deploying of latest technologies to improve speed and efficiency of operations. Above said, we evaluate the processes from time to time and take actions, monitor safety norms and work upon them to provide the best working environment to keep up the morale of staff and workers.
Ensuring smooth coordination
Raymond follows stringent selection process while getting the suppliers, 3PLs and LSPs on board and then has the review meetings with them and associated departments from time to time. By using latest communication systems (WhatsApp/E mail groups) which are much faster as compared to the earlier conventional methods, we establish better, clear and faster communication. Also, clearly defined service-level agreement (SLAs) and Key Performance Areas (KPAs) and their monitoring gives us better control over the operations.
Expectations from LSPs
Logistics Service Providers (LSPs) should deliver the shipments timely and safely at optimum cost and be able to provide real-time visibility of each shipment. They should have the flexibility to provide the extra-support during peak seasons and capability to integrate the API with our FMS which helps in delivering the shipments to our customers at a faster pace and free of risk. Besides, LSPs need to work on the reduction of transit times and should provide the Proof of Delivery (PODs) electronically.
Scope for LSPs
LSPs should efficiently handle first and last mile deliveries with offering competitive prices.
Managing back-end supply chain
Raymond manages the back-end supply chain by adhering to the set standards:
- Strengthening the vendor relationship
- Implementing right processes
- Proper planning and forecasting
- Removing short-term bottlenecks
- Integration of APIs with vendors/suppliers
- Following properly defined processes
- Taking decisions with keeping customers at centre
Next-gen manufacturing supply chain
The next-gen manufacturing supply chain will largely depend on the offerings of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for cost reduction and managing sustainability. IOT pushing autonomous supply chain management and collaboration between buyers and suppliers will be the way forward. Also, new technologies and automation of all processes using AI and ML will play a major role in deriving the best results in the manufacturing supply chain.
There are a lot of changes happening in the domain of supply chain which includes Digital Supply Networks (DSN) that provides an opportunity to improve efficiency exponentially in functions of the supply chain. Today, automation, network optimisation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), customer centricity, digitisation and technology implementation across all processes of supply chain, manufacturing and procurement are pre-dominant. Also, a significant amount of agility been witnessed in the last 5-7 years and usage of data analytics helps to take appropriate actions timely. Another megatrend which has emerged is dependency on 3PL and 4PL. Lot of improvement has been noticed in terms of real-time visibility and tracking of orders and shipments, helping companies offer better logistics services.