Interview with Rajul Jain

Face2Face
Rajul Jain
Rajul Jain
Co-Founder & CEO
Increff
Increff

How has the market responded to Assure and Iris?

As we position ourselves as premium tech-products provider, our products have impacted our client's businesses who have seen high jump in their revenues and margins. Our products bring lot of intelligence, accuracy and speed in decision making and operations. Earlier, brands and retailers were sceptical about adopting technology, but now most of them believe that it will play a very crucial role in standing ahead in a very competitive environment. 
Our clients have reaped significant benefits from using our two technology platforms. To highlight a few cases: 
  • In general, our clients have seen a revenue improvement of 25-30 percent and margin improvement by 4-5 percentage points. 
  • One of our clients has seen 2-3-fold jump in revenue from same inventory holding.
  • With another client who can support by agile manufacturing, we are targeting to achieve 6-8 inventory turns.

How are your solutions different from competitors offering similar type of supply chain solutions?

Increff Iris is an end-to-end merchandising planning and distribution product for fashion brands and retailers. What makes Increff Iris unique is that there is no such product in the Indian market with an ability to (a) consider nuances of complex category like fashion accounting for all operating business constraints (planogram, MOQ, lead time etc.); (b) consume most granular level data; (c) do humongous amount of calculations via 300+ algorithms in short period of time; (d) performs individual store-level analytics (no clustering of stores); and (e) provide intelligent decisions rather than simple reports.

Increff Assure is an end to end fulfilment platform, it is superior to even what some of the leading ecommerce companies have built in-house and beats global giants in this space. The unique aspect of Increff Assure is (a) unique piece barcoding approach; (b) API based deep integration; (c) pen-less, paper-less, keyboard-less processes; (d) no dependency on humans making decision ensures, 99.9+ per cent inventory accuracy and 99.9 per cent accurate order fulfilment which is unheard of. Case to prove: Increff customers' inventory lying in Increff Assure gets Amazon Prime status without dedicating inventory for Amazon.

Honestly, we don't see too much challenge for now, but we do expect domestic competition coming in. In global market, we ourselves will be competition to global tech giants. We are sure to win those markets via our cutting-edge products and lower costs. What we firmly believe is that instead of external challenge, challenge will be internal and therefore, we strive to (a) continuously innovate the product we have built; (b) focus on solving supply side of problems, and (c) killing your own products by launching new and better products.

How are you constantly innovating your solutions from the feedbacks you receive?

We believe that innovation is the only way to win and be always ahead. We constantly innovate not only our offerings to clients but also our internal operations. 

When it comes to enhancing in-house operations and quality deliverables, we leverage latest technologies such as Java spring hibernate architecture for back-end operations and single page architecture like Angular/jQuery for front-end execution. We have processes and organisational structure in place which delivers B2C type of customer service to B2B customers.

We are already building next versions of our Iris and Assure platforms. We will soon be launching pure SaaS version of Iris platform, which will revolutionise the way merchandizers and planners work today. Automation is the key to us. In fact, the most important KRA for everyone in the company is: how good you are in automating your own work.

What are the major challenges that apparel retailers online and offline face? What would be your suggestions to overcome them?

Fashion retail has very poor inventory (working capital) rotation in India. As mentioned, it does about two turns compared to global brands like Zara doing 10-12. This is primarily due to (a) legacy processes -long supply chain; (b) large and constantly changing variety; (c) low depth and size complexity; (d) multi-channel retail. Lower inventory turn leads to significant revenue and margin loss and high working capital needs is very detrimental to growth. We are solving this problem through our two technology platforms (Increff Iris and Increff Assure) and one service (Increff WaaS) to bring in incredible efficiency on the supply side and in turn maximise inventory rotation.

What is the trend in terms of having number of collections per year and styles in each collection among Indian apparel brands / retailers?

It depends on the brand's philosophy. However, in general brands are moving away from season concept and trying to launch collections faster to catch consumer trends. The number of collections per year is on rise and the styles in each collection is also going up.

What supply chain market trends can be expected in future?

Given the proliferation of sales channels (traditional, ecommerce, social commerce, etc), brands are gearing up to predict demand more accurately across sales channels to tap varying customer needs. They are moving towards distributed warehousing to be closer to customer and fulfil their orders faster. We will see brands trying to move to flexi manufacturing to tap upcoming trends faster.

What new solutions are you working towards especially for the apparel and textile industries?

We help brands predict their demand pattern at very granular level (store and SKU level). Our merchandising platform, Iris helps brands take key decisions like what to buy, when to buy and where to showcase inventory more intelligently. This helps them plan their merchandise more accurately, respond faster to upcoming trends and ensure that their supplies are closely mirroring the true demand.

Assure helps brands showcase single view of inventory to all sales channels and delivers higher sell throughs. We also provide Warehouse as a Service. We Uberise warehousing and move it from Capex to Opex model. Brands can now fulfil orders from multiple warehouses, thereby being closer to customers. They can also move to practically daily replenishment of their offline stores. (HO)

Published on: 18/07/2019

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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