How Fabindia reduced their inventory turnaround time by more than 30%

FabIndia
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Company Overview:

 John Bissell, a lesser-known name but FabIndia is a brand that strikes our mind immediately. 

There cannot be many professionals in Indian cities who have not, at one time or another in the last 25 years, possessed either a Fabindia shirt, kurta, bed cover, dhurrie, or napkin. More than any fashion dictator, social marketing whiz kid or aggressive foreign retail chain, Fabindia has defined the look of the Indian middle class. FabIndia’ s endeavour is to bring customers a choice of products – and lifestyle – that offers an alternative to the mass-produced while creating sustainable livelihoods in the rural sector.

It is a chain of retail stores selling garments, furnishings, fabrics and ethnic products, which are handmade by craftspeople across rural India. With over Rs.1500 Crores valuation, along with 90,000+ artisans and craftspeople and roughly 200 stores across India and abroad, Fabindia today is widely known to be and has successfully managed to boost rural employment across villages in India.

It’s been 50 years since they are maintaining a bridge between India’s traditional handicrafts and the western world. 

FabIndia is known as the largest private platform for products that are made from traditional techniques, skills and hand-based processes. The link 55,000 craft based rural producers today and produce products that are natural, craft based, contemporary and affordable.

As they rightly quote “ FabIndia connects her, and 55000 others like her, to you ”.

Challenges faced:

Even with many reforms of the internal structure, William Bissell, son of John Bissell and the present CEO of Fabindia, knew that Fabindia had to evolve again to keep up with the changing world. 

Could it continue to be a niche player or broaden its positioning? 

If it remained niche, how should it proceed to augment its brand in the consumer’s mind space?

Is there a need to shift consumer perception of Fabindia as a “Classy, middle-aged, expensive” brand to one that was more vibrant and contemporary?

How should they do it?

They did it eventually. Fabindia expanded its product base and vendor base, which dramatically increased its online orders and order sizes. However, the absence of a centralized Order Management and Warehouse Management system increased the turnaround time. Fabindia needed an automated Warehouse Management and Order Management System for enhancing its level of order processing.

Further, William had expansion plans to tier 2 & tier 3 cities through a new format called Micro Stores. Apparel being a lucrative market, Fabindia is also facing competition from established retail chains such as Shoppers Stop, Westside, and Reliance Trends, etc. who are operating at a comparable price. Fabindia needed a system that will bind their rural artisans, manage the supply chain and monitor warehouse management to keep up with their image of an authentic classy brand of apparel which has been a budget-friendly brand for middle-class people more than five decades.

Solutions: 

Fabindia integrated digital Supply Chain Management within their system. The Integration that resulted in controlling delivery times more easily through centralized processes using technology and also helped in a greater degree of standardization and defects in the raw material procured and used. It also helped ensure a benchmark quality which ensures that a problem of non-repeat of purchase does not occur. As a result, Fabindia achieved:

  1. More than a 30% reduction in turnaround time.
  2. Around 60% reduction in the cancellation rate
  3. Fulfilling thousands of orders from multiple geographies.
  4. Enabling business expansion: 40-50 new retails stores are added every year.
  5. Optimized inventory and increased fulfillment rates.

 Fabindia Supply Chain has moved on from a centralized warehouse model to a more decentralized model which was monitored from a centralized tower. This system shortened the supply chain and incorporated the artisans within the process in a much better way. All these were achieved as:

– Order fulfillment at line quantity level was now possible

– Multi-location order allocation and fulfillment to support their online to offline flow exist

– Integrations with partner networks to eliminate manual processes worked well, and

– Business Intelligence reports were used to improve inventory planning and operational efficiency.

The Result:

Their Brick-and-Mortar presence is much more dominant than their online presence. The ethnic brand has taken serious initiatives to alleviate the impact of e-commerce shoppers. But experts are saying, those who shop online do it for convenience and not for the experience. And Fabindia is a brand in which the customers are more habituated to visit their stores physically. 

Even the competitions are high. Other retails brands are displaying multiple brands all together on web markets and winning over cut-throat prices. Now if Fabindia has to compete, they should cut down their procurement costs to increase the profit margin that they cannot afford as the material providers are the rural artisans. Along with that in-store has a limit to the number of products or varieties they can display but online doesn’t have such limitations.

Moreover, Fabindia’ s business model was a very popular one and already many brands adopted it. So, they needed to innovate and diversify into different product categories.

How Eunimart will help:

Fabindia needs a platform that will help them to retain their novel vision of uplifting the rural areas and along with it should perform as a unique player in the market. Since their suppliers are mostly artisans, reducing costs will not be possible. They need a system which will enable them to cut cost in the operation. Also, it should ensure that the consumer services provide are best and the quality of the product is consistent.

Eunimart – the most advanced Artificial Intelligence-based Omnichannel enabler. In light of Fabindia’ s business Model, Eunimart can provide a comprehensive solution that will help them achieve higher profit margins and strategise better in an ever-evolving market. They have a complete end to end Omnichannel trade and digitized Supply Chain Management. Eunimart can help Fabindia optimise warehousing costs and expand their presence over different channels and reach out to their millennial customers efficiently. 

With their 25+ online channels of sales and a robust network of global partners across 100+ countries, Fabindia can access Eunimart’ s widespread market reach through a single dashboard. With this technologically advanced Omnichannel, Fabindia can link their offline customers online and provide them with a seamless experience at all touchpoints over multiple sales channels. They can also keep track and monitor the warehouses virtually with artificial intelligence predicting sales, revenues, demands and supply.

Eunimart can equip Fabindia with their Artificial Intelligence enabled insights to gain a competitive edge, reduce costs, increase operational efficiency through and a deep understanding of the business’s current scenarios, which can help to make better managerial decisions.

Eunimart understands not every brand is here to only make profits. There are brands like Fabindia whose vision is :

In addition to making profits, our aims are constant development of new products, a fair, equitable and helpful relationship with our producers, and the maintenance of quality on which our reputation rests.”