Bikash Kumar, the founder and Managing Director of Integrated Retail
As e-commerce rises, retail companies face a variety of challenges: increasing competitive pressures, wafer-thin margins, high occupancy costs, and unpredictable supply base. All this erodes into their operational efficiency and profitability.
In this interview, Bikash Kumar, the founder and Managing Director of Integrated Retail, discusses at length the challenges faced by the retail industry.
Integrated Retail is a Retail Automation Software Service provider in India and Asia Pacific regions. Integrated Retail provides complete Retail Point of Sale (POS) Software solution for retail automation, retail sales and inventory management, merchandise management and planning across Asia Pacific regions.
Kumar is the founder of Integrated Retail and he also holds a position of Managing Director since April 2001. A post graduate from University of Delhi, Kumar has previously worked with CMC Limited, and Madura Garments.
How did you get into retail technology?
Bikash Kumar: We at Integrated Retail started off as a pure-play management consulting firm. However, back in the year 2000, a lot of what we recommended could not be backed by hard data as retailers has very primitive systems to run their operations and the granularity of data and information from these data were very suspect. As management consultants, we were constantly facing the challenge of not being able to prove hypothesis or business case for want of data, which in turn was constrained by retail systems deployed by the retailers.
So to bolster our management consulting practice, we got into retail technology. As luck would have it, the technology practice scaled up for us faster.
At Integrated Retail, while we still retain our management consulting lineage, we leverage our consulting background to deliver better value for our clients for their retail technology investments. For us, this background of management consulting sets us apart from our competitors in technology space, as we speak business rather than bits and bytes only.
Tell us about your business operations. Is it a region-wide?
We are a pan-regional company with direct presence in 5 countries: Singapore (Head Office), India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. We have 50 + resources across 6 offices in our markets in South and South East Asia. We service clients with retail businesses that extend to another 4 countries, notably China, Hong Kong, and Guam.
We presently service 200 plus named customers who have over 3500 retail points. We support over US$ 1 billion in retail sales for our clients, through our systems and services.
What kind of challenges retailers face today?
The challenges for retailers fall into 2 buckets:
A. Global Challenges - These are faced by all retailers across the geographies we service.
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