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Management

A Bakery Chain

Dreams Big,Thanks To IT Vadodara-based Shree Gandhi Bakery is relishing the sweet taste of success, thanks to the timely addition of one key ingredient to its recipe for growth – technology. Vanisha Joseph BenefIT Bureau

T

he way to customers’ hearts is via their stomachs! Which is how Vadodara-based Shree Gandhi Bakery (SGB) has been winning over hearts with its sweet treats, since 1950. Today, it is a leading bakery products brand in Gujarat, with 13 outlets spread across Vadodara, Anand and Bodeli, and two new brands added to its range – Mr Puff Mast Munchies catering to the 

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youth and Cookie King. The bakery chain also exports to USA, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, Dubai, Nigeria and Australia. But entering new markets and broadening its product base couldn’t have been possible if Sushil Thadani, owner and grandson of the founder of the company had not embraced technology wholeheartedly to manage his retail outlets. “We have always

been driven by an innovative vision to consistently bring novelty into the culinary market by offering unique delicacies to all – old and young. For instance, Mr Puff was started to cater to youngsters. To realise our dreams to build our brand, to enter new cities and to innovate, we needed to get our retail outlets in order for which we adopted technology,” says Thadani.

Initial brush with technology The initial brush with technology happened shortly after the launch of Mr Puff in 2004. “The immediate need was good reporting to manage the outlets. We embraced simple technology by opting for the FoxProbased cash register software,” says


Management

Sushil Thadani, owner and grandson of the founder of Shree Gandhi Bakery

“After a lot of scrutiny and feedback from other players in the retail industry who were using retail management solutions, we decided on GoFrugal’s RayMedi retail solutions.” Thadani. As SGB expanded its retail chain and manufacturing unit, those at the helm felt the need for a complete retail solution to manage the outlets. “As we expanded, it was becoming very difficult to control all outlets. We spotted discrepancies in billing and dispatch. Alongside, I wanted to take our brand beyond Vadodara but hesitated as I wasn’t sure if I could control far flung outlets while sitting in Vadodara,” recollects Thadani. To exercise control over existing outlets and to overcome hiccups during expansion, Shree Gandhi Bakery adopted a retail solution. “After a lot of scrutiny and feedback from other players in the retail industry who were using retail management solutions, we decided on GoFrugal’s RayMedi retail solutions. We first implemented RPOS, followed by other Web-based tools,” says Thadani. Adding on, Kumar Vembu, founder and CEO, GoFrugal Technologies, says: “Shree Gandhi Bakery was looking for an IT

solution which could help them to grow without losing their traditional identity. We took upon the challenge to help Shree Gandhi Bakery go through the technological transitional ride and pace up their growth stride. Our solution gave them more control, reduced cost and increased profits helping them accomplish their dream.” The GoFrugal solution included RayMedi HQ (a Web-based software to manage a chain of retail outlets), RayMedi Retail Point of Sale (a business management solution at the point of sale or individual store) and RayMedi Net Trade (a business process automation tool enabling electronic trade and data interchange among trade partners, customers and peer groups).

Betting on technology Using the retail chain management solutions, Shree Gandhi Bakery was able to achieve operational efficiencies, like managing delivery, stock inventory, order taking, reporting and production planning, without digging too deep into its own pockets. Further, it helped the firm improve customer satisfaction and time management.

Achieving operational efficiency Managing sales, delivery and inventory The retail chain management solution helped the chain manage sales, delivery and inventory at the retail outlets, improving operational efficiency. Using the Web-based RayMedi HQ, Thadani could access the business status in real time, of every point of sale/ store using RayMedi RPOS. “Sitting anywhere I can monitor the sales and inventory position at any store. This helps me analyse sales, inventory and purchase

Kumar Vembu, founder and CEO, GoFrugal Technologies

“We took upon the challenge to help Shree Gandhi Bakery go through the technological transitional ride and pace up their growth stride. Our solution gave them more control, reduced cost and increased profits.” better, helping me control the chain. For instance, there is a bulk order at one of the outlets that has only 50 puffs in stock. Another outlet in the city has about 200 puffs. Using the stock transfer option, I can ask the store to use the stock at the other store. Such options are essential for me to maintain my business,” says Thadani. Production planning The retail chain management solution also helped Shree Gandhi Bakery plan the production process better. “Earlier we spent about over an hour at the end of each day to get to know the requirements and special orders for the next day. The process would start around 9:00 PM and go on well past 11:30 PM. It was extremely essential for us as the production sheet had to be made ready before the kitchen staff reported in the next day. Using GoFrugal’s retail solution, the production sheet for the next day can BenefIT

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Management be prepared with just a click of the button. There are less errors and such efficiency helps speed up delivery,” says Thadani. Reporting The retail solution generates reports helping Shree Gandhi Bakery get an overview of the business in a snapshot. “The reports are comprehensive and user friendly, saving a lot of time. A category based stock transfer report is very useful to maintain a check on the exact delivery made to outlets while the re-order option is useful for efficient purchase management,” says Vinod Solanki, factory manager, Shree Gandhi Bakery. Lower cost of operations For a retail chain dealing with perishable commodities, time management and lowering operational costs is extremely important. Shree Gandhi Bakery was able to achieve both by clicking on the technology button. “By implementing the retail management solution, we have been able to manage our time appropriately resulting in better utilisation of our resources. For instance, four people were working on four outlets. Now, using software, we can better manage their time so the same four can cater to even 40 outlets,” says



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Thadani. He further adds: “We have also been able to cut the cost of operations. We have been able to reduce the money lost in damages and waste by 50 per cent.” Improves customer satisfaction levels For the retail business, even a slight lapse during an interaction with a customer could result in the loss of a long term patron. Repeat business is what drives sales as such chains depend on volumes and a loyal customer base. “As a retailer, I had the right processes for customer interaction management in place but wasn’t able to execute them appropriately to impact my business. Now, using the retail solution, the customer can order at any outlet and take delivery from any other. This helps us provide the customer worldclass service,” says Thadani.

Transition: Winning over reluctant employees However, like all small and medium enterprises, SGB also faced the transitional hiccups associated with employee hesitance to adopt technology. “When I went in for the retail solution, the employees weren’t too happy. They thought of it as an added workload. However, we appointed three professionals with

in-depth IT knowledge to help the employees and within a month we won employee acceptance for the software,” says Thadani.

Looking ahead Today Shree Gandhi Bakery has a turnover of Rs 4 crore per annum and spends around Rs 7.5 lakhs annually on technology innovations. In the future, it plans to invest even more in technology to fuel its expansion plans. “Technology has changed the way I think. Now I am focusing on entering new markets as I know I have a powerful tool that can help me control operations. By the end of the year, we plan to open around10-15 outlets in Surat and Mumbai,” says Thadani. This bakery chain is also looking at a technology capsule to solve other manufacturing and selling problems. “A major area of concern is managing our production unit. We need to get the information available online. We are definitely considering technological tools to solve such production hiccups. Further, with the customers becoming more open to checking out the product online, we also plan to click on e-commerce and Internet marketing soon,” says Thadani, who dreams of making his business as big as McDonalds’.  


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