How the Fu­ture Group trans­formed its sup­ply chain

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a WMS from In­for has helped the firm in en­sur­ing min­i­mum shrink­age and in main­tain­ing a high level of in­ven­tory ac­cu­racy

InformationWeek - - Contents - By Srikanth RP

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of a WMS from In­for has helped the firm in en­sur­ing min­i­mum shrink­age and in main­tain­ing a high level of in­ven­tory ac­cu­racy

In a dy­namic mar­ket, ev­ery large re­tailer de­pends on a well-oiled sup­ply chain net­work for manag­ing and main­tain­ing the high vol­ume of in­ven­tory. As re­tail vol­umes in­crease, most re­tail­ers strug­gle for keep­ing track of the mil­lions of Stock Keep­ing Units (SKUS) across dif­fer­ent prod­uct cat­e­gories. Fu­ture Group, In­dia’s big­gest re­tailer and owner of nu­mer­ous suc­cess­ful brands, such as Pan­taloons, Big Bazaar, Cen­tral and Home­town, was fac­ing a sim­i­lar prob­lem.

As the vol­ume of re­tail busi­ness han­dled by Fu­ture Group in­creased ex­po­nen­tially, it was fac­ing a mas­sive chal­lenge in han­dling a large num­ber of SKUS, spread across many dif­fer­ent prod­uct cat­e­gories in­clud­ing fash­ion, home, food, and fur­ni­ture and con­sumer durables. Un­der­stand­ing the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of the sup­ply chain to the com­pany, the firm set up In­dia’s first end-to- end sup­ply chain ser­vices com­pany, Fu­ture Sup­ply Chains.

Over the years, the firm de­vel­oped ex­per­tise in sup­ply chain man­age­ment of con­sumer prod­uct cat­e­gories, such as fash­ion, food & FMCG, home decor and fur­ni­ture, con­sumer durables & elec­tron­ics and gen­eral mer­chan­dise. The com­pany has a foot­print of over 6 mil­lion square feet of ware­hous­ing space strate­gi­cally lo­cated across In­dia. As de­mand grew, the com­pany fine­tuned its sys­tems and de­signed sup­ply chain so­lu­tions. To­day, the firm is the first or­ga­nized in­tra-city trans­porta­tion ser­vices com­pany in In­dia — car­ry­ing out not only B2B de­liv­er­ies but also B2C de­liv­er­ies in the form of thou­sands of home de­liv­er­ies ev­ery day across the coun­try, es­pe­cially for fur­ni­ture and con­sumer durables.

Fu­ture Sup­ply Chains had

“We are now able to han­dle a very large num­ber of SKUs and en­sure 100 per­cent stock ac­cu­racy. It is also pos­si­ble to do stock corrections in real time since all en­tries are on­line”

SAM­SON SA­MUEL

COO and CIO, Fu­ture Sup­ply Chains ware­houses spread across the coun­try with very lit­tle in­fra­struc­ture. As the ware­houses were man­u­ally op­er­ated, it was get­ting ex­tremely difficult for the firm to keep track of in­ven­tory. Re­tail stores started re­port­ing lost sales be­cause the goods could not reach the stores on time. The com­pany re­sponded to this chal­lenge by first ra­tio­nal­iz­ing the num­ber of dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters and later con­sol­i­dat­ing to larger dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters. How­ever, the num­ber of SKUs and vol­umes had in­creased man­i­fold, which ne­ces­si­tated a state- of-theart Ware­house Man­age­ment Sys­tem ( WMS).

For Fu­ture Sup­ply Chains, hav­ing an ef­fec­tive WMS in place was a ne­ces­sity and not a choice. “For any sup­ply chain com­pany, ware­house man­age­ment is at the core of sup­ply chain man­age­ment,” states Sam­son Sa­muel, COO and CIO, Fu­ture Sup­ply Chains.

Af­ter eval­u­at­ing a num­ber of WMS prod­ucts, the firm ze­roed in on In­for, as it be­lieved that it was more scal­able and re­li­able than other prod­ucts from com­peti­tors. And also be­cause In­for had an ecosys­tem of ex­ist­ing part­ners, as well as strong pres­ence across In­dia in terms of man­power, of­fices and clients. The firm went in for an all- out ap­proach, which en­sured that the com­pany was able to im­ple­ment In­for SCM WM at 18 lo­ca­tions in a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of just 18 months.

BOOST­ING SUP­PLY CHAIN EF­FI­CIEN­CIES

Post im­ple­men­ta­tion, the ben­e­fits of hav­ing a ro­bust WMS is pay­ing for the firm. To­day, all 18 ware­houses are

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