In the Hot Seat: Mumpreneurs of Harnes Singapore
Starting a business is challenging, especially if you’re a resource-strapped mum.
A much beloved brand for 68 years since it was founded in 1953 under the name of the Thailand Knitting Factory Company Limited, the company has evolved much from its humble beginnings as a garment factory to include a T-shirt business under the Double Goose brand, known for its signature white round-neck T-shirts and tank tops.
The secret to its enduring success? Receptiveness to emerging trends.
Khunakorn Dhanasarnsombat, Managing Director of Thailand Knitting Factory Company Limited, a third-generation owner who continues the white T-shirt business favoured by every generation of Thais, said that, throughout the 68 years of operation, all facets of the organisation have adapted and developed alongside key trends like the changing consumer behaviours over the decades. Their longevity is a testament in itself to the importance of organisational agility. This recognition proved a critical turning point in driving them to decide on carrying out the next phase of their development ahead with the evolving times – digital transformation.
To accommodate the shift in consumer behaviour online, Double Goose expanded its operations in recent years to include an e-commerce platform. The move, while fruitful in widening its outreach to a newer generation of consumers used to shopping online, unveiled the cracks in its ways of working that mainly revolved around manual processes.
Acknowledging its shortfalls is one thing, but where to begin?
On the recommendation of Warrix Sport Company Limited, a fellow business partner and participant in the Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP) conducted by The FinLab, an innovation accelerator powered by UOB, Double Goose decided to give the programme a go.
Through the SBTP, Double Goose isolated the need for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution as their main priority. They identified this as critical in helping the company modernise, freeing up the employees’ time to focus on more productive tasks like running effective digital marketing campaigns and providing quality after-sales service.
Following holistic assessments conducted by The FinLab, Double Goose was introduced to SAP Business One, an affordable ERP solution to manage their entire business – from accounting and financials, purchasing, inventory, sales and customer relationships to reporting and analytics. Within a month of implementing SAP Business One, Double Goose was already observing enhanced operational efficiency in their online and offline sales, production, management, supply chain and delivery activities. The positive results affirm the company’s efforts to digitalise and ultimately, widen their business opportunities to drive corporate growth.
To cover the cost of its digitalisation efforts, Double Goose was guided by The FinLab to apply for funding from the Information and Technology Assistance Programme (ITAP), greatly subsidising its implementation with a generous grant of THBs 300,000. The ITAP programme is operated under Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), a partner of UOB’s for the SBTP, with the express aim of empowering Thai businesses to leverage innovative technologies to advance towards Thailand 4.0.
What made Double Goose’s digital transformation a resounding success can be attributed to:
Double Goose had a clear vision outlined – it was ready to go digital. This view was heavily supported by tech-savvy leaders appointed to key leadership roles at Double Goose, who strongly believed in the value of digital transformation and were dedicated to leading this change. This commitment was signalled to all levels of the company, producing greater motivation as a whole to follow through with the steps necessary for digitalisation.
At the same time, the company identified the main parts of its business it wanted to transform digitally by the end of its participation in the SBTP. That is, achieving higher workforce productivity and revenue growth. Guided by this in mind, the tech-savvy leaders were more conscious of what they needed to work towards in order to support a successful transformation.
Double Goose recognised the importance of building the digital skillsets of its workforce, to ensure that the employees adapt for the better together with the company. To accomplish that, employees were allocated sufficient time to attend rigorous training sessions that adequately prepared them with the know-how to operate new systems. Employees familiar with the existing ways of working were also encouraged to propose areas that could be digitalised, empowering them to have a say in the digitalisation process.
These efforts were not wasted as Double Goose is now able to achieve a 100 per cent accuracy in their processing of purchase orders and a massive 10 per cent reduction in production costs.
Double Goose sought out The FinLab’s assistance by signing up for its Smart Business Transformation Programme (SBTP). Through the programme, it was able to rely on The FinLab’s comprehensive knowledge of the latest digital solutions available in the market and narrow down to SAP Business One, which addresses its need for an affordable and easy-to-use solution that provides increased visibility and control over its growing operations.
Apart from being matched to an ideal solution, Double Goose was also introduced to the newest technological trends through a variety of educational workshops and familiarised with digital concepts that might be applicable to their transformation journey.
Growing a multi-generational customer base, starting with the Thai baby boomers to the present generation, is no mean feat. Through it, the team at Double Goose has sharpened its ability to adapt to emerging trends over the years, accumulating an extensive understanding of nuances in customer needs across the generations.
Taking on an ambitious outlook, the team at Double Goose aspires to create a regional brand that extends over and above the local market.
Equipped with in-depth knowledge, Double Goose made the strategic move to expand into its neighbouring markets such as Myanmar, Lao, Malaysia and Cambodia over the past three years. Entering into these foreign markets undoubtedly proved challenging particularly in the initial stages, as they had to first consider how to localise their products so as to best engage their overseas customers. By leveraging their learnings from industry experts in these markets, they were able to refine their regional expansion strategy and build their network, achieving exponential double-digit growth since then.
Are you an SME interested in growing your brand sustainably and reaching out to a newer generation of customers? Visit www.thefinlab.com/Thailand for more information on our SBTP.