Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Arvind Gupta, president and CEO at wholesale and retail software firm Jesta, discusses the industries that were better prepared for Covid-19 and the importance of supply chain agility.
Name: Arvind Gupta
Title: president and CEO
Company: Jesta I.S. Inc.
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
The heavy equipment industry, automotive manufacturing and consumer packaged goods industry had the best handle on supply chains in the wake of Covid-19. The reasons these industries were better prepared include their longstanding focus on dealing with a global network of suppliers, sophisticated demand forecasting models, multiple supplier networks for critical parts and components, and ultimately deeper long-term investment in ICT [information and communications technology].
Over the years, the apparel industry has become overly reliant on Asian manufacturers and typically works on 12 to 18-month, demand-to-delivery cycles with negligible slack for any demand or supply shocks. The design-to-delivery cycle for apparel needs to become much shorter, and key to shortening the cycle is investing in agile supply chains.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
As a consumer, I seek efficiency and transparency in all my buying experiences. I expect to have flexibility to purchase anything, anywhere, anytime and have it delivered however I want, while obtaining a seamless and consistent experience across the entire shopping journey.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Any brand that internalizes authenticity and social responsibility, and that obsesses with understanding my shopping behavior in a non-intrusive manner to ultimately market and deliver products that appeal to my inner sense of style would find me among its most loyal customers.
What’s your typical uniform?
Chinos and a collared dress shirt.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
Purism exemplified in modern classic.
Who’s your style icon?
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
We decided to go to a cloud-first, subscription-based model for our entire ERP portfolio of Vision Suite products. Jesta’s Vision Suite was fundamentally built to enable agile supply chains for our clients and their network of global partners.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
Jesta is probably one of a few independent software vendors that has been focused on the apparel, wholesale and retail industry for over 50 years. Despite such a long and rich heritage, the culture at Jesta could be best characterized as one of a startup, bustling with an entrepreneurial energy that celebrates risk taking and innovation.
What can companies learn from Covid-19?
The biggest lesson would be to never put all the supply chain eggs in one basket. Invest instead in agile supply chains that could be easily repurposed in response to external demand and/or supply shocks.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
Sustaining sourcing that is diversified beyond China without compromising quality should be the apparel industry’s top priority now.
What keeps you up at night?
The drive to reinvent and build a company that stays relevant for another 50 years.
What makes you most optimistic?
An enviable list of global brands that continue to believe in Jesta and its Vision Suite solutions to navigate the ever-changing consumer and supply chain landscape.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
Jesta is one of the few global ERP, supply chain and omni commerce solution companies that is focused on the apparel and footwear wholesale and retail industries. Jesta’s Vision Suite solutions enable global brands to seamlessly connect disparate parts of the supply chain including demand forecasting, sourcing, distribution and direct-to-consumer delivery. The latest solution stack is built on robust cloud-based distributed architecture and four key solution pillars comprising foundational ERP, direct-to-consumer, unified commerce and analytics. Jesta’s industry-leading Vision Suite has been engineered for the enablement of headless commerce while leveraging artificial intelligence to deliver game changing actionable insights to its clients.