The pandemic has changed the way we live and shop. The dynamics of business have completely changed post the pandemic. Similarly, the sourcing community too has not been left untouched by the impact of the pandemic.
Driven by large raw material and process dependencies on various sectors and materials coming from different parts of the country, such as yarn, dying, fabrics, and trims coming primarily of MSMEs, a bottleneck at anywhere, breaks the chain, reducing overall efficiencies severely. Transportation of fabrics and finished garments was one of the major challenges that Myntra Fashion Brands had to face.
“The situation required us to constantly review the effects of the evolving dynamics on our partners, to keep the ball rolling,” says Neetu Jotwani, Vice President, Sourcing and Product Development –MFB, Myntra.
“Demand during such times also hops categories, for example, ‘work from home’ and ‘lounge wear’ witnessed a sudden spike in demand. We are observing the changing consumer patterns and catering to such demand shifts immediately. With the gradual easing of restrictions, things are headed in the right direction at the moment, focusing on stronger supply and delivery, considering our mega event, EORS has just started,” she further adds.
Being among the leading players in the industry, Myntra’s responsibility towards the ecosystem is paramount.
“In the initial stages of the pandemic, we met with our vendor partners to understand how we could be of assistance to them, and assured them of the constant inflow of orders while also ensuring that their payment timelines wouldn’t get impacted. As a result, they (partners) went out of their way to ensure that our supply and production continued to flow in per schedule. This has also ensured that they can make the most of the EORS event when orders peak, by being able to match it with supply,” she asserts.
“Even now, our teams constantly communicate with partners to offer any support they may require. Many of our vendors have had huge working capital requirements and were anxious, while pandemic impacted their personal lives. To help them fulfill their commitments, we introduced Supply Chain Financing (SCF) to augment payment processes to partners,” she adds.
Some systems and processes that the brand now follows in engagement with vendors are:
Communicating Far More than Normal Times - Pandemic can cause anxiety to many and particularly vendors to tend to get worried about uncertainties and seek to understand many things.
Understand Unique Challenges and Discuss Workable Plans with Some Level of Certainty - Mynta now shares clear fixed plans as well as variable plan options.
Providing an Option (Financial Arrangement) that can Give Certainty on Payment for the Work Done - Smooth flow of working capital is a great help during these times. Myntra partners get an expedited payment through the new Supply Chain Financing model.
Betting Big on Sustainability
Myntra has helped establish some of the largest brands in the country today and it is committed to doing this responsibly and sustainably. Myntra has been addressing the need for sustainability through various products from Myntra Fashion Brands and also has over 70 brand partners with 'Myntra for Earth' to offer sustainable fashion to customers looking for this option.
“In addition, we have taken initiatives within the sourcing supply chain machinery with respect to sustainability. For instance, for most of our brands, we have developed sustainable capsules, like waterless or dye-less, and have also shifted to sustainable rayon, recyclable labels,” says Jotwani.
“Our multicultural lifestyle brand Taavi, which has partnered with 10,000 artisans, embodies the traditional textile craft of India such as Kolkata’s Kantha and Odisha’s Sambalpuri Ikkat. The brand has been collaborating with various NGOs and local artisans to make Indian textile and embroidery more popular in the country. In times of the pandemic, we made sure that our work with them continued which in turn helped the artisan community sustain their livelihood in these difficult times,” she adds.
Additionally, two of its largest fulfillment centers have been solar-paneled which provide about 35 percent of the total energy requirement of the two fulfillment centers.
“One of our latest initiatives has been to use eco-friendly recycled paper shreds to replace the bubble-wrap and air-filled plastic packing pouches for the packaging of products,” she states.
Automation of Sourcing and Supplier Management
At Myntra, technology is at the core of everything that it does and is a key strength. Its endeavor is to ensure that its teams, partners as well as processes are well supported and powered through technology to create a superlative experience for not just our customers but partners too. This is well reflected in its product philosophy as well.
“We have developed a partner portal, an interface between Myntra teams and partners, for the ease of communication. This enables seamless and transparent access to information between Myntra and its partners, about a product, dispatch, delivery, payment status, etc. The portal also presents a scorecard to the partners on all relevant performance parameters, giving them a fair understanding of their strengths and areas they need to focus on. We are also working with various digital tools to make our collaboration with the partners smarter and faster, including 3-D fitting and quality interface. Our tech capabilities to strengthen our relationships with the partners also resulted in a significant jump in NPS score,” she shares.
Sourcing is all about extensive industry interaction and bringing the latest in fashion to the consumers. During the pandemic, travel stalled and so did the visits to the factories.
“We had to quickly revamp our processes and adapt to digital ways of working and so we created a digital platform where our partners could showcase their products to the design teams ensuring that our new season collection was still per the latest trends. We have increased our 3D fitting capacity so more and more styles do not require the physical fitting of products. Since our quality teams have not been able to travel to factories, all quality reviews and checks have been changed to digital processes,” she states.
Myntra is also empowering its high-performance vendor partners in all aspects in these times.
What Does the Future Hold for Sourcing?
With consumer behavior changing rapidly and young consumers wanting more variety, more authenticity, more performance needs (in active and athleisure), and at the same time seeking more value in the products they buy, there is certainly a need for sourcing dynamics to evolve. Efficiency on various fronts including cost efficiency has never been more important, requiring industrial engineers to work closely in manufacturing to devise new ways, while increasing automation.
“Blurring of work boundaries between brands and their vendor partners, higher strategic partnership and high levels of collaboration and digital connection on all processes will be the order of the day. Time taken to bring the products to the market needs high reduction and this will only be feasible when there is increased trust, empowerment, and speed between the brands and the supply community,” she asserts.
“The pandemic also showed us how important it is to have supplies coming from diverse geographies, to ensure risk mitigation. Sustainable fashion will continue to gain ground but needs more work to bring in cost neutrality,” she further adds.