Breaking into new Markets

Spykar Lifestyles Private Limited has had a great run and has been rapidly expanding their non-denim business driven by the group's constant endeavor to carry forward its symbiotic relationship with the multimillion Consumer India by making fashion accessible to the masses.

We caught up with their CEO, Sanjay Vakharia at one of their stores to capture his vision for their business and the role played by Microsoft Technologies in their IT journey.

Please tell us about your organization.

Spykar has been for the last 26 years at the forefront of retailing business in India. It is one of the only home-grown brands which has managed to live up to the promise it made to its consumers. We are very young company from our customer’s perspective and one of the most seasoned ones as far as the jeans wear business is concerned in India. Most of our consumers come from the 15 years to 40 year demographic. The brand has been in market from the last 26 years and we have kept up to date with how retailing has evolved in the country. Back in the early days we did not have brand stores, nor did we have e-commerce, neither there were these many organized national chain stores and department stores. It used to be a mom and pop stores business spread across the length and breath of the country. Spykar started its business servicing these shop keepers who owned and managed their own stores and had retail spaces any where from 300 square feet to 10,000 square feet. Spykar has been a progressive organization and evolved with changing environment. We adapted ourselves to the new retail formats. We have around 250 standalone stores in the country and have embraced the e-commerce platforms. Spykar cuts across all sales channels and we intend to be at the forefront of all evolving markets. Spykar has 270 plus employees across India and another 1000 on third party rolls. We have 18 distributors across the country and some markets are directly served by the company.

What is the future you envision for your organization?

Consumerism has just started in India and its no where close to its peak. There is so much more to do in India. We see a huge upside especially looking at the demographics that the country has matches exactly the demographics that Spykar needs. We have a very symbiotic relationship with Consumer India. The business of fashion is always tied to the sentiments of the nation. For the next 15-20 years there is no reason for anyone to complain about the demand for fashion. There is a lot more customer loyalty in the denims category versus many other categories due to well defined preferences around the product fit and make. Denim products are easy to identify and recall and therefore people do become creatures of habit. We are very consciously adopting digital ways to serve our customers. Spykar is also moving into lot more categories right from accessories to whole different lot of clothing. We are keen on the evening wear segment.

What are the emerging technologies you track and follow with interest and why?

We are looking at emerging technologies to capture important business data. We are very optimistic about e-commerce and we are trying to get it into our own fold instead of giving it away to a third party. We have tied up with some interesting partners who have given us the ability to create an endless aisle and to ensure we don’t lose on transactions in event of a stock out at the store. We expect Omnichannel contributing to 6-7% to our revenue in the coming year or year and a half.

How do you see Technology enhancing the collaboration fabric of your organization?

Microsoft Office 365 is probably as old as Spykar or may be even more than our brand also. We use Office 365 quite extensively, excel, powerpoint, onedrive. Office 365 brings a lot of convenience in sharing the data within and outside of the company.

Please describe the Point of Sale solution deployed at Spykar?

Spykar has developed its own Point of Sales solution using .NET framework and Microsoft SQL Server database. We been using it from the last 12 years, and it has been very stable. Infact the teams are very reticent to move away from this to some other solution. Microsoft has been at the forefront for us on the Point of Sales front.

How does Spykar use Information Technology to manage your business processes?

We are currently selling through huge franchise network. Secondary sales numbers are as critical as primary sales numbers for us. The ERP we had internally developed was unable to give us a full view of primary and secondary sales numbers. Considering the business growth, we knew we needed a much more robust platform to run our business. We looked at many options and decided to go ahead with Microsoft Dynamics Ax about 3 years ago. We are very buoyant about the fact that we were able to create a bridge between primary and secondary sales number through Microsoft Dynamics Ax. Microsoft allows us to look at our business in real time and map out our business strategies. We have point solutions for order management and HRMS today and have plans to coalesce all business workflows within Microsoft Dynamics Ax in the coming future. We have another couple of years before we migrate to Dynamics 365. We do almost all our planning budgeting in Microsoft Excel and plan to migrate to Microsoft Dynamics ERP. We would have in excess of 150 people who would be working on realizing our business plans and there are more vertical being added to the business and that count will only go up. All of accounting happens within Microsoft Ax and we are working on a project to prepone our yearly financial close from August September to early June or July of each financial year. We have also embedded internal controls and checkpoints within the Microsoft Ax.

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