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Online tailors use smart technology to keep ahead

A case study in flexible communication


A Suit That Fits.com is the world's first online hand-tailored suit company. With over forty billion possible style, fabric and colour combinations, it offers the largest range of quality suits in the UK.

The company was founded just under three years ago by Warren Bennett and David Hathiramani who rented their first office using money loaned on a credit card.

Since then, it has grown from having one branch in London's Liverpool Street, to three London branches and travelling TailorStops in cities across the UK. Additionally, it has a London-based tailoring unit, to make any final suit alterations. In the past year alone, it had over 500,000 unique visitors to its website.

With the online and real-world shops, as well as a dedicated manufacturing outlet in Nepal, keeping a nimble supply chain has been essential to the company's impressive growth.

A key aspect of managing their supply chain is the communication with their Nepalese tailors. For this, the founders use the T-Mobile G1 phone, running the Google Android platform. The suite of Google applications on the G1 helps them to keep a close eye on the stock management process, ensuring they can receive push-emails, use synchronised work calendars, access all contacts located online and quickly and accurately load the web pages needed to manage their online business.

The Challenge

As a fast growing business, which relies heavily on communication across many sites, the two co-founders of A Suit That Fits.com required a cost effective mobile communications package which would enable them to constantly stay in touch both with each other and with their employees, without worrying about call costs. With a significant proportion of their time spent visiting the website and working online, they also required a handset and Mobile Broadband network that would enable quick, easy and reliable internet access for working on the move.

"Communication is at the heart of everything we do. As a growing business, and particularly in today's tough economic climate, we needed to find the a mobile communications package that would allow us to continue working the way we do, without worrying about the cost of every text, phone call or minute spent online," says Warren.

The Solution

The company uses T-Mobile to provide its mobile communications  and both David and Warren use T-Mobile G1 handsets on the Business 1-Plan tariff. Business 1-Plan is a shared plan where companies purchase a tailored allowance of minutes, text and data across a number of users.  The Business 1-Plan also offers a host of other features including international calls from the UK, as part of the minutes allowance, unlimited calls to UK landlines, as well as unlimited UK texts and free colleague-to-colleague calls. It also includes European Shared Call Allowances, meaning roaming bundles are shared throughout a company rather than to individual users.

"We spend a lot of our time every day either on the phone, travelling, or conducting business online and through email. To have, amongst other things, unlimited access to the internet, unlimited calls between myself and David, and unlimited calls to the landlines of our UK suppliers works out as a massive cost saving to our business. The recent addition of the G1 phone, and the extra dimension this brings to our ability to work on the move has also already made a major impact on the way we can do business," explains Warren.

Enhanced connectivity and flexibility

The mobile connectivity  has been of huge benefit to the company's founders.  As an online business, having a phone that can quickly and accurately load the pages needed to manage day-to-day business has proved hugely valuable. The two co-founders say that they feel as comfortable and effective working out of the office as in it.

With its manufacturing capability based in Nepal, the company will also often receive emails through the night due to the time difference, many of which need urgent responses. The G1 phone allows the founders to answer emails offline as well as online, which means they can make productive use of the time they spend travelling.  According to Warren Bennett:

"Having unlimited access to the internet has genuinely increased our productivity levels. We use the whole suite of Google applications, and being able to receive push-emails, use synchronised work calendars and access all our contacts located online in the Google 'cloud', means that we never waste a minute."

"Being able to respond to our customers' emails instantly, even if we're sitting on a train on the way to work or visiting one of our stores has proved invaluable. We can also plan our days more effectively now because we know that wherever we are we'll still be able to go online and access vital information. This not only means we are more productive, but also that, should we need to, we have the flexibility to leave the office earlier and work on the way home."

Social responsibility

The company aims to continue to increase its presence throughout the UK, and grow its existing range of products.  Working efficiently and keeping costs low through effective use of technology allows them to reinvest the savings into the expansion of the company.

The company also has a commitment to corporate social responsibility Having founded the business in Nepal, the company's founders firmly believe in putting something back into the Nepalese community; paying more than 50% over the local rate for manufacture, and contributing a proportion of sales to the Nepalese community.
 


 

October 2009

 

 

 

 


 

 


All material copyright Flexibility.co.uk 2009