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When technology lets you sleep easy

Indian mattress supplier Duroflex has taken a leaf out of mattress design in its technology implementation to double its growth in an industry dominated by unorganised players

As a mattress supplier in an industry dominated by unorganised players, Duroflex sees opportunities in carving out a bigger slice of India’s mattress market.

That is, by following the principles of good mattress design in its technology implementation: a reliable “data foam”, a good spring that serves as the backbone of manufacturing, and a posture-friendly fabric in trade and marketing engagement.

The company is currently in the midst of digitising its business processes, transforming its business into an omnichannel brand that sells mattress through multiple channels, whether it’s retail stores or e-commerce websites, with a single view of customer experience, pricing, engagement and inventory.

Data is key to realising that vision, said Vipin Rustagi, group CIO of Duroflex, adding that the company has invested in business intelligence capabilities, as well as a data lake, which has enabled it to connect 30 disparate applications and leverage data to glean insights.

Rustagi added that Duroflex will also be applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to its data lake to forecast its supply of raw materials through historical data, and to predict the behaviour of customers through consumer propensity modelling.

In its manufacturing and supply chain operations, Duroflex is implementing a transportation management system and an automated warehouse system by the first quarter of 2023.

“The idea is to optimise our logistics costs and elevate our throughput of our warehouse,” said Mathew Chandy, chief managing director and sleep evangelist at Duroflex. “We have also embraced digital twins and simulation programmes to increase productivity and to reduce wastage on the factory floors.”

In trade engagement, the company is developing capabilities and an in-house portal for bolstering and accelerating trade engagement, including with direct dealers.

Rustagi said the portal will enable it to orchestrate order-taking, streamline accounting, manage its inventory and automate credit notes: “This will give us a competitive edge in a core area that has been our strength for five decades.”

At the same time, key HR areas are being transformed and automated through applications such as Darwinbox and HRTech. Rustagi said the company has made a significant investment in its people and there has been a surge in its talent pool as well as improvements in workforce diversity.

“Without the support of automated HR, it would have been difficult to manage all that. The technology armed us with both speed and simplicity, from on-boarding to training in the employee journey,” he added.

The technology investments have reaped tangible outcomes for Duroflex, which has doubled its growth in the past two years. “A large part of that can be attributed to the digitisation of processes that created a huge impact in manual operations. We could expand in new geographies and channels, and achieve a new level of synergy due to technology,” Chandy said.

When asked about the hardest lessons learnt so far or what advice he would offer to peers, Rustagi cautioned against having a “technology-obsessed” lens.

“Digital transformation has to be a business-forward and not a technology-forward endeavour. Also, executing a data strategy is sometimes seen as a huge R&D [research and development] effort. Technology does not have to be complex – it has to be simple.”

Chandy also advised organisations to inject more diversity into project teams, which should comprise not just technology people but business folks as well, adding that the perspective of business stakeholders is crucial to the success of any project.

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