With almost two centuries in business, Brooks Brothers knows how to make suits. The manufacturing process, however, is a timely ordeal and takes months to provide a customer with a product tailored for the best fit and style.
That's one of the reasons Brooks Brothers turned toward technology to streamline its business processes. Partnering with Zudy and using Vinyl, its no-code app development platform, Brooks Brothers created an app merging online and in-store transactions with customer data.
The platform is a suite of programs built by Zudy, including a CRM, Made to Measure program to include custom tailoring and alterations. Associates only have to log in once to access all the programs in store.
Accurately capturing customer requests is especially important in the Made to Measure program where everything can be dictated, including whether someone wants business card pockets.
Brooks Brothers began testing the Zudy platform in October and it is now rolled out to 90% of its U.S. stores. Though it's still early on in the implementation, there has already been a clear reduction in the number of non-delivered goods and mistakes, according to Andre D'Elia, Director of Tailoring Services and Made to Measure at Brooks Brothers.
In 2015, Brooks Brothers had about a $2 million worth of products that were either refused, rejected or not delivered, according to D'Elia. This year, the company is on track to cut that cost by three-fourths.
When customers come in to a store, associates enter data into computers and tablets. The information is transmitted to different apps in store, from the CRM to the POS then onto the factories, mills, label makers and button makers.
Modernizing a timeless trade
Technology is not new to Brooks Brothers. The company was one of the first organizations to implement body scanning in the 1990s, according to D'Elia.
"Technology is key to driving the business today. You still have to cut and stitch, and you still have hands that touch the fabric and thread and needles and press," D'Elia said. But the process "behind making those garments and getting to that needle and thread stage is all based on technology today."
Now, technology is involved with the automatic cutting, automatic marker making, automatic data transfer of the measurements and even the fabric requests. Using technology helps take misinformation out of the process and Brooks Brothers can deliver suits to customers quicker.
What motivates a timeless business to inject technology into its process? For Brooks Brothers it was geared around engaging with customers four to five times in a season, D'Elia said.
Before, the custom tailored suit-making process could take as long as 14 weeks between the time it takes for a customer to enter a store for a fitting to when they could take it home. With the app Brooks Brothers can set up an appointment in advance, measure, fit and transmit the order to the factories.
The company now can receive a product finished in store three to four weeks after the order is placed and fully delivered after five to six weeks. Then, four weeks later, the suit-making process can begin once again so that at the end of the spring season, Brooks Brothers can engage with customers again for summer fabrics, for example.
Right now, only Brooks Brothers retail locations carry the Made to Measure app, but the company is also looking to create an app for the outlets. Made to Measure for women is also on its way, D'Elia said.