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Introduction Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited (PRIL) was the first retail chain in India to experiment with different retail formats after the management’s decision to follow an aggressive expansion strategy. PRIL launched its first family store in Kolkata in 1999. PRIL entered retail sector in a big way in 2001-02 when it decided to set up hyper marts under the name Big Bazaar, selling general merchandise for the middle-class consumer. PRIL also entered grocery retailing, gold jewellery store,
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  Introduction Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited (PRIL) was the first retail chain in India to experiment withdifferent retail formats after the management’s decision to follow an aggressive expansionstrategy. PRIL launched its first family store in Kolkata in 1999. PRIL entered retail sector ina big way in 2001-02 when it decided to set up hyper marts under the name Big Bazaar,selling general merchandise for the middle-class consumer. PRIL also entered groceryretailing, gold jewellery store, Central malls etc. In 2005, PRIL had 18 Pantaloon stores, 24Big Bazaars, 36 Food Bazaars, 3 Central Malls, and 2 Fashion Stations operational acrossIndia. Its turnover in FY 2004-05 was about Rs. 11 bn as compared to Rs. 8 bn of RPGs andRs. 5.45 bn of Shoppe rs’ Stop respectively. SWOTExisting system and problems PRIL earlier used the traditional supply chain as in most Indian retail outlets like the kiranageneral stores. But, it became necessary for it to develop a more cost-effective supply chainas a result of its aggressive expansion strategy. The entire process had to undergo two to threesteps before it reached outlets-so streamlining the supply chain was necessary. At each step,human intervention was required and barcode readers were installed at merchandisinglocations. Traceability and visibility of goods in the supply chain, lack of a unique identity at Strengths ã Pioneer in the industry, largest market share andcapitalization. ã Reputation for value for money, convenience and a widerange of products all in one store ã Presence in major citiesBeing financially strong helps pantaloons retail India dealwith any problems, ride any dip in profits and out performtheir rivals ã Development and Innovation are high at Pantaloons Indiawith regards to it products and consumer preferences andlifestyle changes which keep its ahead of it competitors. Weakness   ã Huge span of control ã Since Pantaloons Retail India Ltd sell products across manysectors, it may not have the flexibility of some of its morefocused competitors. ã Each business line faces competition from specialtycompanies. Fashion segment, Shoppers Stop, Trent, Lifestyle.In hypermarket- RPG (Spencer’s),Trent (Star India Bazaar) In Food business, Reliance Fresh, Spinach, Food World Opportunities   ã Huge untapped market (The Indian middle class is already30 Crore & is projected to grow to over 60 Crore by 2010making India one of the largest consumer markets of theworld) ã Organized retail is only 3% of the total retailing market inIndia. It is estimated to grow at the rate of 25-30% p.a. Threats   ã A slow economy or financial slowdown could have a majorimpact on pantaloons retail India business and profits. ã Consumer lifestyle changes could lead to less of a demand forpantaloons retail India products/services ã Price wars between competitors, price cuts and so on coulddamage profits for pantaloons retail India.  each item level, and human intervention leading to errors were some of the issues faced bythe company. Further, these challenges led to a lack of co-ordination with the backend at the stores, hampering the company’s production planning and inventory management.   IT innovation as a solution As a part of this modified expansion strategy, PRIL strengthened its back end supply-chainand sourcing capabilities to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency through a hugeinvestment in Information Technology (IT) solutions. In May 2005, PRIL decided to investRs. 1 bn in hardware, software, and business connectivity infrastructureEarlier PRIL has used IT solutions like Virtual Private Network (VPN) to handle heavytraffic of data, voice and video. Most of these IT solutions were developed in-house and werenot enough to support the company’s changing requirements as a result of the modifiedexpansion strategy. In 2005, PRIL entered into an alliance with Sap’s to implement my SAPbusiness suite , SAP advanced planning tool (for merchandise planning) and SAP appareland footwear solutions . Process implementation Pantaloon went in for RFID for its simplicity of tagging, efficacy of use, product buffering,ability to keep track of over-produced items, and ability to monitor product-line lead time atthe warehouse and fast-moving product-lines. The company selected a few lines of apparel,primarily shirts and trousers, for its RFID pilot. The RFID application developed by Wipro InfoTech was tailored to the overall solution in line with Pantaloon’s business processes and IT landscape (from the factory outward to the warehouse inward and from the warehouseoutward) in order to capture real-time data. The application is integrated with Oracle database10g and middleware along with an implementation of the RFID hardware. It integrates withthe existing IT infrastructure, the in-house developed Retail Enterprise Manager. The mainobjective was to smoothen the entire product lifecycle, introduce item-level tagging foridentification, and track the entire RFID roadmap with Pantaloon. The piloting was also to doan RFID feasibility study for additional uses. At the factory outlet, RFID tags were attachedto the merchandise and the data written to them. When the RFID-tagged merchandise comesthrough the inward gate, all related information such as purchase and delivery orders will befed in the inward terminals in real-time. After correlating the requirements of specific outletswith the merchandise in the warehouse, the items allocated for different outlets will betransported. The tags are removed once the RFID-tagged goods pass through the outwardterminal. Benefit Realization Although with a few hiccups, Pantaloon has enjoyed certain benefits. “Recording of data became smooth at the inward and outward terminals, which helped us save time and gainaccuracy. Earlier, the possibility of scanning incorrect goods was much higher,” affirms Deshpande. Before the implementation, each item used to be scanned through the barcoderecorder. After the RFID implementation, the time saved on the same is about 80 percent ininward warehouse processing and 12 percent in outward. Real-time visibility of items duringall stages of the supply chain improved to 98 percent.   
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