Categories
Business

Sustainable Fashion: A fad or the future?

Our global fashion industry has been heavily criticized for causing irreparable damage to the environment. A recent study, April 2020, published in the Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, states the annual impact from the fashion industry is over 92 million tonnes of waste, 79 trillion litres of water consumption alongside chemical pollution and CO2 emission. The glossy facades of fashion stores hide a huge environmental cost we are paying to set them up which is life-threatening and cannot be ignored now. 

Gone are those days when clothes were made by hand and fashion was for the richest in society. With the mechanization of the industry, manufacturing clothes became faster and cheaper, and fashion was introduced to the masses. The use of cheaper synthetic fabrics became abundant and the industry transitioned from a circular economy, producing no waste, to a linear model where only 1% of textile waste is recycled into new clothing. The luxury brands produce a fine quality style, which is copied in fast fashion at a lower quality. Each year more than100 billion garments are made and $450 billion worth of fabric is thrown away, globally.

Where there used to be two seasons, Spring-Summer and Autumn-Winter, now there are fifty. There is an over-supply of fashion where companies have gone from offering two collections per year in 2000 to five in 2011. Brands like Zara and H&M put out 24 collections per year and 12 to 16 respectp. Some fashion brands have taken the route to sustainability in sourcing and supply chain, but 85% of textile still ends in dump every year. 

Managing fashion inventory is a challenge because products have a large width and low depth. Since planning becomes difficult, the stock ends up piling due to wrong buying, and to get rid of it brands liquidate sales, leading to margin losses and stuck working capital. 

What can Brands do under these circumstances to help the industry become more environmentally friendly? 

  • Transition from fast fashion to slow fashion by optimizing manufacturing volumes. Analyze true demand potential to prevent stock-outs and increase customer satisfaction, and use smart-tech merchandising and WMS tools to ensure proper oversight on merchandise from the moment it enters the warehouse. 
  • Expose 100% inventory to ensure all channels increase the visibility of long-tail merchandise and no piece is left behind.   
  • Build sustainable partnerships in the supply chain for higher efficiencies.  
  • Donate unsold good-quality clothes for a cause to the needy

What can we do as Fashion consumers?

  • Buy good quality clothes so they last longer
  • Open to buy pre-owned good quality clothes 
  • Donate used good-quality clothes to the needy

INCREFF’s sustainable cloud-based solutions are built for inventory optimization for both online and offline channels. While ASSURE allows simultaneous 100% live inventory-order sync for online brands, IRIS analyses, as recent as, yesterday’s sales data to determine the right product assortment and demand-wise allocation of merchandise for optimum sales and maximum revenue.

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Categories
Business Smart Merchandising

Do you know what Zara and H&M do to be on the best-in-class Supply Chain list?

An efficient Supply chain streamlines everything from sourcing of raw material to delivery of the final product, adjusting and adapting to unexpected situations on the way. It not only gives brands the ability to diagnose an operational glitch and address it at the right time but also be more responsive towards societal needs. In the current scenario when the competition is high, a sustainable supply chain is a source of competitive advantage to boost customer service, reduce operating costs, and improve cash flow. 

Gartner’s Supply Chain top 25 list is the distinguished ranking of brand leaders, recognized for their achievement and advancement in supply chain capabilities. For this list, brands are evaluated on business health (ROPA, Inventory turns, Revenue) and Social responsibility metric (environmentally responsible supply chain). 

Only 2 Fashion brands have made it to the list so far, they are Inditex or Zara, and H&M. Zara has been on the list since 2010 and H&M since 2012

What makes them a class-apart? 

Their innovative demand-driven business model is centered around the customer’s decision-making process. The specialized real-time, demand shaping, and demand sensing tools help them immediately respond to market changes, increase flexibility, and speed of bringing innovative designs to the market. Zara offers 24 new clothing collections and H&M offers 12 to 16 collections each year.

Zara’s RFID technology ensures accurate inventory count and faster deliveries to the end consumer, while H&M through Treadler, its B2B service, helps clients accelerate sustainable change by overcoming internal barriers and accessing benefits of its global long-term supply chain partnerships for viable growth. Businesses today are not only implementing best-in-class technology to meet true customer demand, but also building sustainable partnerships for Industry and environmental benefits. 

How can you join the leader’s pool?

INCREFF’s sustainable, cost-effective SaaS solutions, ASSURE, WaaS, and IRIS are built for inventory optimization for both online and offline channels. Our cloud-based platforms are extremely easy to learn and use, without supervision. The best part is, we can get you started in less than 7 days. 

Increff ASSURE allows simultaneous 100% inventory exposure across all sales channels, so no piece is left behind. Its live-inventory sync feature captures instant sales even during peak time so your potential buyers know the exact availability and there are fewer cancellations. Low cancellations deliver a better customer experience, add value to the brand and build trust. 

While ASSURE is a fully automated and scan-based tool in itself, Increff’s Cloud warehousing service that runs on ASSURE lets brands have on-demand access to warehouses in multiple cities. There is no use of paper & pen and no human decision-making to minimize errors or delay in execution. Each piece is assigned a fully trackable unique piece barcode (UPB), which is more accurate than RFID. Once scanned, the location of a piece is recorded and referred to when pick-paths are defined at the time of order picking. Pick-paths are linear so there is no back and forth, and the picker’s time is most efficiently utilized. Return processing is fast and strict as the rejected piece is immediately moved out of circulation and its UPB is tagged with the reason of rejection. 

Increff IRIS is a cloud-based intelligent merchandising, buying and distribution platform that enables merchandisers to take pre-season and in-season decisions like what, when and how much to buy and where to showcase inventory via 100+ customizable patent-pending algorithms designed specifically for fashion and lifestyle business. For online sales, it analyses order location and distributes stock to ensure fulfillment from the local warehouse, reducing air shipments and logistics costs by nearly 70%.

The Global fashion industry has been heavily criticized for causing irreparable damage to the environment. Luxury fashion brands prefer to burn millions of dollars worth of clothes to prevent counterfeiting and protect intellectual property. We can help you protect the environment through our initiative of donating unsold inventory to the needy who cannot afford to buy good quality clothes.  

If you are sitting on a large pool of inventory and looking for a smart tech-tool that can help your brand realize its true demand potential, then you have reached the right place. Contact us today!

Categories
Technology

Black Friday Sale may never be the same again – Here’s why!

Black Friday, traditionally a ‘door-busting’ event remembered for its midnight rush, crowded stores, and limited deals will be experienced very differently this year. The majority of shoppers experiencing FOGO (Fear Of Going Out) will avoid stores for their Christmas shopping and take to the online route instead. 

Brands, this year, will be able to expose 100% of their inventory at a lower cost. Reduced CAPEX will give retailers more flexibility to offer discounts and deals that attract value-conscious customers who are not brand loyalists yet, but are waiting for their best fit of quality and price. The early store rush to grab those limited offers, that usually left most shoppers empty-handed and disappointed, will not be there anymore. Last, but not least, what used to be the busiest shopping day will now be at least a week-long event that is expected to be the biggest ever online sale. E-commerce will give more time and space to retailers to clear their piled-up inventory, reach more customers, and recover from year-long losses faced as a consequence of the recent pandemic.

Taking this opportunity of heightened holiday excitement forward, it is time to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience. Retailers should check their processes for scalability and stability and ensure the right technology is implemented that can fully equip them to handle a large influx of orders efficiently. It’s time to turn Black Friday bargain hunters into loyal customers who will return for the offseason and beyond.

Going one step further with INCREFF offerings

Retailers want accurate visibility and quick updates on stock availability, so that they can provide alternative options to shoppers and therefore promote cross-selling. ASSURE, our revolutionary web-based fulfillment platform allows 100% inventory exposure simultaneously across multiple sales channels with a sync time of less than 30 seconds. Its most-loved live inventory-order sync feature updates sales & inventory in real-time even during peak hours.

Managing large-scale operations needs high CAPEX investment, however, our cloud warehousing solution gives retailers the flexibility to shift to an OPEX model which is designed to handle large volumes optimally across B2B and B2C channels. Our stringent quality check process instantly removes default or canceled items from circulation and allows quick return processing and making saleable inventory immediately available for resale with no loss in time.

Free shipping and same-day delivery have evolved from something that’s nice to have, to a must-have for E-commerce-first brands. IRIS RU, our advanced cloud-based platform, helps brands fulfill orders from the nearest warehouse location, thus converting 70% of air shipments to surface shipments and reducing logistics costs and delivery time significantly.

No one wants to lose customers, especially during the holiday shopping season. Let’s utilize this great opportunity to get new customers and boost revenue. We can prepare you for your next sales spike in less than 7 days so you can sell more with greater ease this festive season.

Categories
Regional Utilization

Increff launches Iris regional utilization module

The shopping season is ON, are you closer to your customer?

As fashion brands & retailers prepare their stock for one of the most awaited e-commerce season sales, Amazon’s Great Indian Festival and Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, Increff launches IRIS – Regional Utilization (RU) module to reduce additional logistic cost and deliver a smooth online order delivery journey.

In warehouses focused on e-commerce fulfillment, inventory placement is complex for brands that have a high number of SKUs with low depth. It requires constant demand analysis and in-depth logistics planning to achieve a desirable return on investments.

IRIS RU, specifically designed for e-commerce, translates deep insights into concrete action points to determine the demand-wise distribution of stock across the country, bringing brands closer to customers.   

How can IRIS RU help?

  1. Smart inventory allocation across multiple warehouses achieving higher regional utilization by order fulfillment from the local warehouse
  2. Saving Rs. 20-22 additional cost per Piece on logistics
  3. Faster deliveries resulting in better visibility and higher conversion on marketplaces
  4. Significantly lower rate of returns due to the faster delivery

One of India’s top ethnic wear brands recognized the need for controlling expenses and enhancing customer experience. They were experiencing lofty shipment costs and higher delivery timelines. By integrating IRIS RU, they saved ~12% on logistics, thus increasing overall margins and enhanced regional fulfillment by ~30%. Download the infographic here.

To experience immediate impact on your bottom line, talk to our experts today to understand how IRIS RU can help your brand allocate inventory smartly and save BIG this festive season!

Check it for yourself, sign up on IRIS for FREE at https://iris.increff.com

Categories
Warehouse Management

Cloud-warehousing – Your low cost solution for easy fulfillment

The advances of technology are based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life” – Bill Gates

COVID-19 is probably the first global pandemic that has accelerated digital adoption in ways, and at speeds, no one could have predicted. As retailers and consumers switch services to E-commerce, timely order fulfillment has become a challenge. With increased viewability and availability of options online, the small screen offers more space for catalogs compared to a physical store. This is the power of SMALL over LARGE.

A smooth 24/7 shopping experience demands round-the-clock warehousing.
A continuous influx of orders requires efficient processing, greater fulfillment space, and skillful operations. With same-day or next-day deliveries & free shipping demands, warehousing requires advanced technologies to accelerate automation, reduce cost, maximize exposure, and accelerate sales.

Real-time data feed for better customer experience, quick fulfillment, and customer retention.
Increff’s Cloud Warehousing is a smart inventory placement service through which we help clients distribute stock to multiple 3PL warehouses, across the country, for better delivery to the end consumer. We lower overall client cost by providing the flexibility to switch from CAPEX to OPEX model of operations and assuring perfect, skillful management of warehousing with no additional operational bandwidth at their end. Our cloud warehousing service can be made operational within 2 days with complete adaptability on the quantity that needs to be stored at each location based on consumer demands.

Increff ASSURE, our web-based fulfillment platform, which is at the heart of our Cloud warehousing Service, provides a single view of the inventory across all sales channels simultaneously. It helps fulfill both B2B and B2C orders from a common pool of inventory, thus improving the overall Rate of Sale, that too from the nearest location. We have helped clients lower manpower costs by 20-25% and achieve 99.9% SLA in order fulfillment through our combination of Technology and Warehousing as a Service.

One of the largest footwear giants, increased the rate of sales by 300% using ASSURE and Cloud Warehousing.

What’s next!
Unpredictable purchasing season is another concern where many warehouses find it difficult to keep up with seasonal changes and demands from consumers, often leading to either understocking or overstocking. As seasonal goods or particular fashion trends lose relevance in one region, cross-border analysis can help brands quickly shift that merchandise to regions where goods are more likely to sell. This is the future of retail and Increff is on the path of a revolutionary change, helping brands plan a more sustainable and better-designed fashion ecosystem.

Categories
Warehouse Management

9 reasons why you need a New Age Warehouse Management Systems

Efficient warehousing is a crucial activity in the supply chain. It has become a source of competitive advantage for brands to outperform their competition in costs, lead time, and customer service. With so many WMS solutions available in the market, Gartner’s report on Critical Capabilities for Warehouse Management Systems is a helpful guide for businesses to determine their best-suited tech-solution.

In the age of A-commerce (Automated Commerce), where all warehousing processes leverage automation and new technologies from start to finish, businesses need to switch to web-based WMS solutions that lower ownership costs are easy to use and quick to deploy. Supply chain digital transformation builds greater agility and resilience in business structure and strengthens growth strategy for now and the future.

Increff ASSURE, recognised in this report, has nine notable capabilities (five core capabilities and four are additional capabilities), that make it an important new age WMS solution.

ASSURE’s nine notable capabilities are:

  • Inspection
  • Cycle counting
  • Inventory management
  • Picking
  • Packing
  • Responsive UI
  • Easy to Use, Learn, and Maintain
  • Near-Zero Training and a valuable user experience
  • Multi-site Deployment

While building efficiencies independently within each core capability is extremely essential, ASSURE ties all activities together building a secure, flawless flow through the entire process.

  1. Inspection

This stage involves inward processing where a Unique Piece Barcode (UPB) is assigned to each product. The barcode captures all key details like MRP, style, color, size, SKU image, etc. of the product along with a complete audit trail of operations with timestamps. It allows scan based GRN, showing the product image and description for quality check (QC).

ASSURE’s stringent in-built QC matrix includes a comprehensive list of failure reasons covering all business requirements. If a product is found defective or unsellable, the reason is selected from the drop-down list and its UPB is marked as QC failed. Digitally bifurcated unsellable inventory, with in-depth QC failure reasons, helps in taking quick necessary actions. This product-defect mapping is linked to the seller and can help in streamlining future buying decisions.

  1. Cycle counting

ASSURE allows cycle counting to be done without blocking any inventory or affecting the exposure of the inventory, hence regular operations can be run simultaneously. It identifies discrepancies in the physical scan and system count as we go, making sure that it is addressed immediately without having to wait for a periodic cycle count activity. In case a certain item is marked as ‘Not Found’ during regular picking operations, the updated inventory is synced on all channels including the marketplaces within 30 seconds. These real-time inventory adjustments and live updates can be done without hindering day to day operations.

  1. Inventory Management

Location tracking and assigning perfect pick paths for efficient picking is another notable feature of ASSURE that is achieved through UPB scanning. Separate pick paths can be assigned for smaller and larger products. Picklists are generated using the FIFO inventory method, considering the oldest SKU first to reduce the aging inventory. It also has the ability to prioritize or release picklists according to SLA or channel priority, e.g. Express & Prime orders which have to be fulfilled within 2 hours of order receipt, or multiple marketplaces that have separate cut off and pick up timings, are addressed accordingly. A single view of inventory across all channels and 99.9% bin level accuracy exceeds RFID tagging in bringing accuracy and building proficiency. Proper inventory management in the warehouse allows capturing the true cost of the inventory with accurate aging.

  1. Picking

Is a fully automated scan-based process, free of pen and paper, allowing first-time right pick. Using the UPB tracking method, ASSURE creates an optimized linear forward-going pick path that facilitates systematic sequential picking. It ensures that a picker exits an aisle only when all the items from the picklist have been picked. Through real-time checks, the system has the ability to throw an error and an audio alert to warn the picker if a wrong product is scanned. The picker cannot move forward until the right product is picked up or an item is marked as ‘Not Found’. In case a piece is not found in the assigned bin, a recommendation system is set to direct the picker to the next best location. An order is closed only when all the pieces have been scanned and picked.

  1. Packing

ASSURE has a single screen for each marketplace to view the packing status in real-time. Automated prompts for packing are generated if a product packing requires any customizations, e.g. use of corrugated material for plastic ban states, or gift label print if an order is for gifting. The system provides options to print the shipping labels in different custom formats. If an order is canceled before/during packing then it is sent back to the inventory and made live for sale again, immediately.

6. Responsive UI

UI is designed for the end-operator who is used to the touchscreen on mobile devices. It is fully automated and scan-based, to avoid the use of a mouse or keyboard and eliminate chances of lapses due to human decision-making, and can run on any device; tablet, laptop, smartphone, HHTs. Normally, the operation of GRN/ return processing has a maximum number of steps, but with ASSURE it can be covered in just 4 scans. On scanning, the cursor automatically moves to the next field freezing the previous one and ensures that the operator does not skip a step. If the operator scans any barcode other than the one expected, then a pop-up error stops him from moving further.

7. Easy to Use, Learn, and Maintain

Considering the fluidity of the workforce where attrition is typically 15-20% in a warehouse, Increff ASSURE’s user-friendly interface design guarantees quick learning and easy implementation without supervision. In scenarios like the present where a large number of blue-collar workers moved out of big cities to villages, there is an acute shortage of skilled labour in big warehouses. These warehouses have to operate with a lot of temporary unskilled, less-educated workers to deliver efficient and proficient output. In such situations having easy-to-learn systems saves time that goes into training and in turn increases the productivity of the labour force.

8. Near-Zero Training and a valuable user experience

Reduced training time relates to a lot of dollars saved. Typical manpower required to operate the ASSURE interface needs the bare minimum educational qualification to read simple text. The training time is less than 5 mins so you can go-live faster and reduce manpower cost by 20-25%.   

If there are multiple options available on the screen it can confuse the operator and reduce productivity. A google-like extremely simple UI, with limited options, allows a majority of the decision-making to be done by the system itself. Also, each screen has a video tutorial of 3- 5 mins embedded on the UI to train the new operator. With strict rules set by all marketplaces and different kinds of processes for each operation, it is best if the decision-making is left up to the WMS system. This helps in the easy scale-up of operations and maximum productivity from day one.

9. Multi-site Deployment

Increff ASSURE is capable of handling multi-warehousing. The creation of an environment for a seller takes a maximum of 48 hrs. Our Cloud warehousing service is based on CAPEX free model that gives the flexibility of scaling up and scaling down as per business needs. It enables sellers to easily build up inventory in different regions and optimize low-cost order fulfillment from a local warehouse, reducing logistics costs significantly. Multi-location cloud warehousing improves supply chain resilience and reduces the risk of failures.

For one of the top ethnic wear brands in India, within 15 days of launch, ASSURE GRNed approx 5 lakh pieces across 2 warehouses during peak sales. It dispatched ~170K pieces within 3 days, achieving 99.9%+ SLA and only 48 orders (0.03%) were canceled due to the item not found or excess orders. Powered by ASSURE, the brand has now fAssure and Amazon Prime quality badge for 100% fulfillment accuracy.

Every business needs to evolve and strengthen overtime to cope with the challenges of the changing market. This is the time for digital transformation and quick results. The real challenge is to choose the right system that can help you scale business operations immediately. The New-age WMS needs to be flexible and adaptable to the changing business landscape. Now is not the time to wait, but to act. Get ASSUREd!

Categories
Business

Increff Insights #1 – ‘Buy First, Experience Later’

Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with customer service and work back on the technology – not the other way around”. This ‘experience first‘ approach of addressing customer needs still holds true for retailers but for customers, it has flipped to ‘Buy first & Experience later’.

With an increase in internet penetration and local campaigns like ‘Make In India’ and ‘Vocal for Local’ gathering momentum, a large number of National players are competing with Global brands on the same platform. With a world of choices at their disposal, customer loyalty is always at stake. As infinite brands chase a finite measure of customer attention, demonstrating skilled supply chain competencies is an ideal way of creating a competitive advantage. A terrific post-purchase experience is a great source of brand recall.  

As e-commerce becomes part of daily life, its unsaid expectations are set in every shopper’s mind, which are; variety, trust in quality, efficient delivery, and payment security. While brands are known for their products, they are always remembered for their service. As brands take care of the on-portal experience, INCREFF ensures a smooth post-purchase journey. 

INCREFF is the leader in retail technology innovation. With cutting edge solutions for boosting both offline and online sales of Fashion Brands, INCREFF assures immediate order processing, inventory updation across multiple channels, and efficient fulfillment.  

Their leading software, ASSURE is designed to handle flawless ecommerce order fulfillment journeys.

A recent classic example is LIBAS’s spectacular performance in Myntra EORS this year. Within 15 days of onboarding, LIBAS powered by ASSURE inwarded ~500 K pieces across 2 warehouses and dispatched ~170 K orders within 3 days achieving 99.9%+ SLA. It earned the esteemed fAssured quality badge from Flipkart and an Amazon Prime status for perfect delivery. 

Want to experience the world’s most simplest and accurate warehouse management and fastest order management cloud based platform, click here.

Contact us today to start your INCredible, upward journey!