Todd Treonze

SVP Chief Information Officer, Brooks Brothers

Supernova Award Category: 

Tech Optimization and Modernization

The Organization: 

Brooks Brothers is the oldest retailer in the United States, Founded in 1818 as a family business. The privately owned company offers clothing for men, women and children. Brooks Brothers pioneered many clothing innovations such as the first ready-to-wear suits in 1849 and “wash and wear” shirts in 1953. The company has proudly outfitted 39 of 45 US Presidents. Brooks Brothers operates more than 260 stores in the U.S. and over 180 stores abroad, in addition to having an e-commerce site. The retailer also prides itself on having a strong social purpose and philanthropic effort through its Golden Fleece Foundation, its support of the Make a Wish Foundation, as well as supporting many other local charities in the communities where it does business.

The Problem: 

Brooks Brothers had many manual processes that were laborious and error-prone for employees. Due to the cumbersome, manual nature of these processes, mistakes made by employees resulted in many quality related issues for the customer, putting Brooks Brothers high level of customer satisfaction at risk. Brooks Brothers took a step back and looked to see how technology could empower the sales associates and their business. Management knew a better strategy of digitally transforming these business processes would result in more time and energy for associates to serve customers, resulting in a better customer experience and a higher level of satisfaction. At the core of Brooks Brothers retail operations is customer information. Software applications aim to facilitate processes around the customer with ‘Clienteling’ solutions that enable sales associates to provide better customer service by supplying data on a customer’s preferences, behaviors, and purchases. When Brooks Brothers looked to improve processes to provide better support as well as provide a better customer experience, the decision was made to start with clienteling. After considering many standard software clienteling applications, Brooks Brothers concluded that it needed a custom solution to differentiate their brand.

The Solution: 

Brooks Brothers invited the Zudy team to deliver a one-week POC for a Clienteling App they had spent years trying to develop. Given the specs and requirements had already been gathered without the previous project delivering, one week was a small time frame to try Zudy’s solution. After the retailer explained the concept of “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) to the participating business users, Zudy was able to deploy a first release of an 'MVP' product after only 3 days. Zudy delivered features in the first iteration that neither the standard software product, nor the previous custom product, were able to achieve in the previous 18 months. 

With the proof of concept delivered in less than one week, Zudy was chosen as the solution of choice for Brooks Brothers. They embarked on the Clienteling project built on the Vinyl Platform, as well as automating multiple processes vital for the company’s continued success.

The Results: 

Zudy designed and implemented a modern “Made-To-Measure” Application built in Vinyl from the ground up in 1 week, resulting in higher store associate productivity, elimination of manual, paper-based processes, employee error reduction, and overall higher customer satisfaction. The application integrates with over 15 data sources in their legacy ERP and cloud landscape. Store Associates now use the application daily to take measurements, make adjustments, and select detail options in a validated, intuitive, consumer facing application. This solution, incorporated into the larger customer engagement application suite, enables supply chain visibility, API integration to vendors for programmatic inventory updates, and validated transmission to downstream factories and transactional processes in SAP. All manual, error-prone processes have been replaced with an automated Vinyl application. With the Zudy “Made to Measure” application, all measurements are validated, notes are stored in the customer profile and communication between store associates and tailors is automated with workflow -- lifting the traditional process into the digital age.

  • $1 million a month in new revenue
  • 40 hours to deliver application
  •  Real-time visibility to garment level across the supply chain, from first customer measurement to order received at the store
  • Increased customer satisfaction, experience, & repeat purchases
  • Orders are now transmitted electronically - same day, no paper, reducing production time and audit failures, and improving customer satisfaction
  • Return refunds decreased 75%
The Technology: 

Vinyl: A no-code platform, Vinyl's built-in, patented Lite Integration™ allowed for connections to multiple data sources and integrated the data to the UI layer. Applications built on Vinyl can connect to web services and provide full CRUD operations to all data sources. Vinyl provided authentication with all security models as well as identity management, role-based security and Reach. In addition, there is full life cycle management with Dev/QA/Production release management.

Disruptive Factor: 

With the Vinyl “Made-To-Measure” application, Brooks Brothers now has real-time visibility status across the supply chain, from the first customer measurement to orders received by the customer. Orders are now transmitted electronically the same day without paper forms, reducing production time, decreasing audit failures. The reduction of errors has led to lower costs, higher customer satisfaction and repeat business as customers receive their tailored clothing as specified. The retailer’s impact analysis has revealed customer satisfaction is up and revenue has increased over $1 Million per month. In addition, return refunds have decrease by 75%. All alterations management is now automated.

Another area Brooks Brothers automated with Zudy was the retailer’s tradition of sending thank you notes to customers. In the past, the process was manual– leaving it up to the associate to not forget the task. It was not surprising that, despite best intentions, some thank you notes did not make it to customers, especially during busy seasons. The key data is now captured electronically, and employees are automatically reminded, as production and delivery of thank you notes are tracked in the Vinyl application with full visibility to management.

Shining Moment: 

Today 10+ Brooks Brothers developers are trained to build and support applications on the Vinyl Platform. This has contributed greatly to the faster project delivery speed Brooks Brothers has seen since engaging with Zudy. After having achieved quick success in North America, Brooks Brothers is now rolling out applications built on the Vinyl Platform to its stores in Europe and Hong Kong.

About Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers is the oldest retailer in the United States, Founded in 1818 as a family business.