Harry Rosen: Modernizing the Supply Chain

Tighter integration with vendors and identifying efficiencies critical for iconic Canadian brand’s long-term roadmap.

The world of retail is rapidly changing. We’ve been saying this for years, if not decades. But there has never before been more meaning in that sentiment than today. Evolving consumer behaviour, advancements in technology that are moving at breakneck speeds and ever-increasing competition for share of the market is pushing retailers to become innovative and to find efficiencies wherever they can. And it’s no different for one of Canada’s most iconic menswear brands, Harry Rosen. Harry Rosen is known throughout the industry for its savvy and intelligent customer service. The company, as Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen, explains, doesn’t consider itself as being in the business of selling clothes. It prefers to stand out from the crowd as consultants and advisors. Leveraging the latest technology, Harry Rosen has managed to enhance an already excellent in-store experience. “We share our expertise on menswear to help men develop a confident, personal image,” he says. “Our people are the best in the industry. They provide expert advice on clothing that compliments how a man feels about himself.”

Improving the Experience

Rosen is right to make this distinction. Men who walk through the doors of any one of Harry Rosen’s locations across Canada have come through 65 years of similar service to expect this. However, all the best consultation and customer service in the world can’t move product that isn’t in the store. For this reason, the company has made the decision to find efficiencies in its supply chain to make sure that the in-store experience for customers is elevated even further. Steve Jackson, EVP and Chief Vice President at Harry Rosen, explains that the move is a natural evolution of the exceptional service that the company already provides as it looks to leverage know-how and technologies that can help make this happen. “We’re still early on in this journey, but are in the process of tightening our relationships with vendors in order to strengthen our inventory management,” he says. “There are a few benefits to doing this. But, primarily, it will serve to ensure we have the right product in the right place at the right time. We have the tools to source goods from other stores and our warehouse, but obviously having the garment in the store in the customer’s size is what it is all about.” Some of the other benefits that Jackson refers to include implementing the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the company can easily and quickly share information with preferred vendors, including catalogue information and the sharing of purchase orders, making the entire process of working with vendors that much more efficient and accurate.

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Trusting the Experts

To do this, Harry Rosen’s working with spice™ Technology Group, a company specializing in enabling modern commerce for organizations with complex supply chains. The company engaged spice™ about a year ago shortly after a significant investment in a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. And the timing of their engagement was not coincidental, explains Jackson. “We wanted to transform our supply chain processes and leverage the investment we made in the ERP system. So we started working with spice™ for consulting to help us find efficiencies in our supply chain, including helping us look at stock management, ways we allocate goods to the stores, auto-replenishment and rebalancing. They bring extensive experience and knowledge to the table concerning ways we can modernize our supply chain and map out our long-term strategy. How do we leverage digital assets from our vendors, like product images and descriptions, and how do we extend the aisle beyond what we have in our store to include our vendor’s warehouse?” Although it’s still too early for Harry Rosen to see hard results in the work that the company’s done with spice™, Jackson’s confident that the effort has already paid off. And he’s looking forward to next steps with them as well as they leverage the tech company’s expertise and knowledge further. “We’re currently going through the process with them of surveying and engaging all of our vendors to tighten our partnerships with them and to figure out what their capabilities are in order to match them with our own capabilities. This will help us continue drawing our long-term roadmap and enhance the experience for our customers.”

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This article was originally published in The Marketing Issue of Canadian Retailer Magazine.