In today's rapidly changing market, managing the supply chain and sourcing process has become a challenging task for any business. However, with the help of technology, data analytics, and careful planning, businesses can stay ahead of the competition. We discussed the challenges faced by Myntra, one of India's leading online fashion and lifestyle retailers, in managing their supply chain and sourcing with Debashis Bhadra, Senior Director, Sourcing, Myntra. Having put in more than two decades in the industry and 12 patents under his belt, Debasish gives a glimpse of Myntra’s relentless pursuit to be relevant in the fast-changing landscape in a candid conversation with Fashinza. Here are the excerpts:
Debashis: There are a lot of challenges in a volatile market like this. One is the speed of the shipment. Everybody wants quick deliveries, but sometimes we fail to deliver quickly. We have a portal called Mexpress where we commit to deliveries. Presently we are operating close to 45 to 50 per cent on Mexpress. However, the balance, 50 per cent, has a gap in delivery and we are working to improve it further. The second problem is meeting the cost expectation. This becomes difficult to manage due to the volatile market and fluctuations in prices. Then we have the challenge of Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) as we are offering more to the vendor, and whether they will use it will be a concern. In the supply chain, vendor reliability again is a big question. Sometimes we don't receive the quantity as per the commitment given to the supply chain. Ultimately, if it is not coming from vendors, it creates a problem for us like we are getting a lesser sell period. Basically, in online business, it is all about what tools you use, so managing that itself is a big challenge. Every season, there is a new problem. For example, this winter was mild and the span was very short. As a result, the demand plans we had made went awry. It is not only for us but for everyone. We have to take it positively and go forward.
Debashis: Technology plays a critical role in the planning and execution of supply chain management, especially in the context of a technology-based company like Myntra. Myntra relies heavily on technology at every stage of execution, including sourcing, demand planning, and execution. For demand planning, Myntra uses historical data and algorithms to accurately calculate the demand for the next season. The use of technology ensures that demand planning is precise and reliable. In addition, we also use technology to improve execution. The company uses a manufacturing tracker to get real-time data on Work In Progress (WIP), enabling the supply chain to be more reliable. The technology used by Myntra is internal, and it helps to predict and make the entire supply chain model trustworthy. Without technology, executing the supply chain would be impossible, given the large number of skills and styles involved. Myntra adds around 20,000 options every season, which would be impossible to handle manually without the aid of technology. Therefore, Myntra relies on technology to execute the supply chain flawlessly, even with limited manpower.
Debashis: As a Walmart subsidiary, compliance is essential, and Myntra follows the company's compliance requirements very closely. For Myntra, sustainability is part of its DNA, and it has been using sustainable products, such as BCA cotton (Better Cotton Initiative), recycled poly bags, buttons, and fibres since its inception. The company also uses technology to reduce water consumption in the washing process, such as laser technology in denim washing. Myntra's management has set a huge target to hold the sustainable way. The company collaborates closely with vendors who can help execute sustainable products. Any vendor who wants to onboard in Walmart's ecosystem must meet basic compliance requirements. For example, in India, a vendor needs to have four to six pillars of compliance (while Bangladesh's requirements are even more stringent). Ethical practices are essential for Myntra, and the company takes sustainability and compliance seriously in its sourcing process.
Debashis: Myntra is a market leader in fashion and we need to improve ourselves to grow further. However, we also keep an eye on competitors and what they are doing, as well as relevant trends and insights from social media, fashion influencers and WGSN (Work Global Style Network). We play to our strength, which is fashion, and we are confident in maintaining our market share. We focus on staying relevant in the market, whether through fashion or price-product proposition and consider seasonality when launching new products.
Debashis: Social media is highly relevant for Myntra as an online company. We have a dedicated team to gather inputs on changing fashions and new trends from various social media platforms. Myntra collaborates with fashion influencers on social media to gather information. We also use our AI system to track changing trends and fashion needs from social media inputs. The system is agile and quickly identifies gaps in the market, and if there is a business opportunity, Myntra comes up with ideas to fill it.
Debashis: We generally follow two seasons - Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter. For season planning, our designers prepare a line sheet considering the market trends and potential trends. We plan ahead for six months, based on the intelligence we gather from the market, including social media and AI-based software. For products like jeans and t-shirts, which are not season-specific, we have repeats. The washes and looks may change based on the season, but most of the products will be the same right through the year. We follow the gold rate ecosystem for repeats, where the merchandise is based on actual demand and sale.
Myntra's focus on staying relevant in the market and playing to its strengths has helped the brand to maintain its market share. Managing the supply chain and sourcing process requires continuous adaptation and innovation, and technology is the key enabler in this process. Therein lies the lesson for aspiring brands.
1.Technology plays a critical role in predicting demand, executing the supply chain flawlessly, and managing competition for Myntra.
2.The fashion retailer focuses on staying relevant in the market through price-product fit while considering seasonality.
3.Myntra plans and manages categories for the upcoming season six months ahead based on market trends, social media inputs, and AI-based software