Success Story is a new Sourcing Journal feature highlighting innovative solutions across all areas of the supply chain.
Billing his Jumper Maybach brand as a curator of art, apparel and accessories for audacious humans, owner Ben Workman has the goal of creating one of the top fashion labels in the world. In selling an eclectic collection of his own art prints, as well as handbags, masks, scarves, T-shirts and pillows, Workman knows that his company’s success going forward hinges on having the right product—and getting it from development to the consumer as quickly as possible.
Three months ahead of the company’s grand opening of its Houston luxury art gallery and boutique in November 2019, Workman sought out a solution to fast-track a new line of handbags that could be displayed and purchased at the location. In discovering the Suuchi GRID platform, Workman was able to hasten the speed-to-market process of the launch from an anticipated timeline of six to eight months to the less than three months available to get both the initial prototype, as well as four or five of each of the different bags in the line, ready for the opening.
“They really have made it more of a simple way to get the product to market,” Workman told Sourcing Journal. “The turnaround is amazing given that manufacturing is not in the U.S., but in Colombia, where I’m having these purses made. I tried to see if I could actually take my image or my art and actually apply it to leather. For me to start off with this product—I wanted a very high-end luxury bag that would compete with any of the larger luxury brands out there—and they have really paid off on that chance of letting that occur.”
The Grid is able to fast track launches by linking previously disconnected parts of the supply chain in a unified digitized workflow, enabling immediate communication among different parties whether it’s a retailer’s team members, suppliers or mills and factories.
The centralization of the communication hub within the GRID is designed to supplement and connect disparate communication and organization tools such as spreadsheets, emails and even text messages and apps like WhatsApp, all of which can cause supply chain delays if the proper message doesn’t reach the right person.
In the case of Jumper Maybach, Workman could keep contact with his suppliers and factories when the Covid-19 pandemic forced Colombian factories to shut down. So while the supply chain may have been temporarily interrupted, the communication wasn’t, leading the company to get product moved out of the factories again immediately upon reopening.
“It’s almost like its own social media, where it felt like everyone was communicating back on Facebook,” Workman said. “If you have a question within the production than you just respond within the GRID. That in itself is what made the GRID work. When a supplier has a question on production and they need an answer, they put it on the GRID and it will also send me an email notification.”
Workman noted that at the start of the pandemic, a shipment of handbags that were set to be sent to the U.S. were actually stuck in Customs due to the lockdowns. He attributes the visibility of the GRID, which is designed to create stages per product to track all categories within the supply chain and identify delays, as the reason he was able to actually recover the products in the first place.
“I would have never found out that my handbags were stuck at Customs,” Workman said. “I questioned it back on the GRID and they immediately found out it was stuck. Just having that knowledge of knowing where your stuff is in the process of production, or trapped in Customs, really gives a bit of warm fuzzy feeling for the person actually ordering the product.”
Irina Kapetanakis, vice president of marketing at Suuchi Inc., said customers typically see approximately 50 percent faster speed to market using the GRID than those who don’t.
“With the GRID, we have a module of a global sourcing network, which is a network of over 600 suppliers, vendors, factories, etc.,” Kapetanakis told Sourcing Journal. “Knowing what the criteria was in terms of it being leather bags and what our factories were able to handle, we’re really quickly able to match the right factories and vendors and suppliers with the needs of Jumper Maybach.”
The sourcing network is designed to let users access curated factory and vendor partners’ digital profiles, enabling retailers to vet them and make more informed supply chain decisions. Retailers can even bring their established factories and suppliers onto the platform.
In understanding the product lifecycle through more comprehensive data on his supply chain partners, and being able to marry production data with lead time and sales data, Workman can now plan product launches with more confidence. He said Jumper Maybach is soon launching a men’s belt and a messenger bag as part of its offering.