Fashion industry boom makes IT up for backend revamp

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NEW DELHI: The Indian fashion industry is a tad late in catching on to the technology trends but at least they are finally seeing IT tools like ERP and CRM helping stitch up the rag tag backend pretty smartly.

Designers JJ Valaya, Tarun Tahiliani, Ritu Kumar and Satya Paul are implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to keep up with the new fashion retailing and technology trends.

The IT tools might not walk the ramps but are definitely helping designers consolidate their backstage business. Both Tahiliani Design and Satya Paul’s desire for greater control over inventory planning, procurement and production led them to adopt this IT planning tool.

Satya Paul has had ERP in place for some time and is already using it to track consumer buying patters across individual stores and across various brands. Tahiliani Design, which is still going through the teething process with its ERP solutions programme Project Butterfly, hopes that it would help reduce problems related to management of huge workload and production.

Meanwhile, the House of Valaya has just taken a decision to implement ERP across various processes. “It helps to manage their growing retail business,” says P Kapoor of Headstart Consulting. The firm is helping to implement the ERP package for various retail businesses.

“Apart from managing their burgeoning retail businesses and supply management the IT tools help designers to deliver customised ‘just-in-time fashion’ for a clientele across international locales,’’ says Sharmila Katre, business co-coordinator, Tahiliani Design “There is an inclination to move from an unorganised to an organised environment in the medium scale outfits,” says Sushant Dwivedy, business group lead (MBS), Microsoft.

Though Microsoft is gunning for the medium and small retail businesses for their ERP solutions business, not everyone has been able to sell the ERP that well to the Indian market.

While global fashion houses are moving to sophisticated apparel ERP and prefer to dress in BlueCherry suite, the Indian designers, keeping in line with their affordable prêt retailing, are investing in low-cost ERP solutions by Microsoft or SAP and giving the niche BlueCherry suite a complete miss. The New York-based Computer Generated Solutions (CGS) company, which has developed significant parts of BlueCherry software at their India site, has decided not to launch this product in India.

Though the company claims it has been providing BlueCherry to some of the top apparel manufacturers and retailers in North America, it feels that Indian corporates, retailers and design houses are not ready for this sophisticated solution. Pricing is the one of the main issues for the product. It starts at Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore. “Our top management feels that the Indian market is not yet mature for this product,” says the India-based official spokesperson of CGS.

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