Solutions

Toolkit

Use Case

Lenskart: The Unsung hero

Lenskart, a name synonymous with trendy and affordable eyewear in India, started its journey in 2010 as a mere online platform. Founded by Peyush Bansal, a former tech giant employee, Lenskart aimed to revolutionize the traditional eyewear market, notorious for limited options and high prices. This case study delves into Lenskart’s fascinating trajectory, exploring how it challenged the status quo and transformed into a multi-billion dollar, omnichannel leader.

Initially, Lenskart faced skepticism from established players and consumers hesitant to buy glasses online. However, the company persevered, prioritizing quality, user experience, and transparent return policies. Lenskart strategically leveraged technology, offering virtual try-on options and home eye testing services. This innovative approach, coupled with an expanding product portfolio beyond prescription glasses, fostered customer trust and brand loyalty.

Today, Lenskart stands tall as a leading eyewear powerhouse. It boasts a robust online presence, complemented by a vast network of physical stores across India. The company has achieved profitability and secured unicorn status with a valuation reaching $5 billion in 2024. Lenskart’s continuous focus on innovation, including advancements like robotic lens edging, underscores its commitment to providing a superior customer experience. Analyzing Lenskart’s remarkable journey offers valuable insights into online disruption, omnichannel success, and the power of technology in revolutionizing established industries.

Behind the Veil: Inventory Management at Lenskart

Lenskart’s success story transcends its innovative approach to online retail and omnichannel presence. A crucial, yet often under-appreciated, element behind the company’s rise is its robust Inventory Management System (IMS). This sophisticated system acts as the backbone of Lenskart’s complex supply chain, ensuring seamless operations and contributing significantly to customer satisfaction.

The Lenskart IMS plays a pivotal role in maintaining optimal stock levels across a vast product range. By employing advanced forecasting techniques and real-time data analysis, the system ensures Lenskart has the right products in the right quantities at the right locations. This translates to faster order fulfillment, minimizing the risk of stockouts that could lead to lost sales. Additionally, the IMS helps Lenskart optimize inventory holding costs. By precisely forecasting demand and maintaining just the right amount of stock across its online and physical stores, the company minimizes unnecessary storage expenses. These cost savings can be passed on to customers through competitive pricing, further strengthening Lenskart’s value proposition. In essence, Lenskart’s IMS acts as a silent conductor behind the scenes, orchestrating a smooth flow of products from suppliers to warehouses and ultimately, into the hands of satisfied customers. The Lenskart case study highlights the critical role of an efficient IMS in today’s competitive retail landscape.

Lenskart’s IMS: A Two-Pronged Approach

At the core of Lenskart’s IMS is a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates various business functions such as Inventory Management, order processing, manufacturing, logistics, and customer service. The ERP system acts as a centralized database, providing real-time visibility into inventory levels across the company’s supply chain.

The IMS is designed to handle the complexities of managing a vast product catalog comprising thousands of SKUs, including different frame styles, lens types, coatings, and customization options. The system incorporates advanced algorithms and forecasting models to predict demand patterns and optimize inventory levels accordingly.

According to Lenskart’s Inventory Experts, Veerkesari and Jadav, Lenskart’s IMS is built on two core systems: the Inventory Management System (IMS) and the Consolidated Inventory Database (CID). These systems work in tandem to provide a comprehensive inventory management solution.

The IMS handles the intricate details of individual product barcodes, tracking their creation, inward processes, current states, and locations. It also facilitates the picking process, guiding employees to the exact product location and managing exceptional cases like product unavailability.

OMS: Order Management System

GRN: Goods Received Note

ELK Stack: Not directly an IMS term, but a collection of products that help you search, solve, and succeed with data

IMR: Inventory Movement Register

The CID, on the other hand, offers a consolidated view of Lenskart’s inventory across all warehouses and stores. It serves as a bridge between Lenskart’s internal systems and third-party partners, aggregating inventory data and enabling a hybrid environment for seamless collaboration.

ETL: Extract, Transform, Load
Kafka: An open-source streaming platform that enables real-time data processing.

Redis: An in-memory data store that excels in high-performance data retrieval.

DB: Database

The Nex Team: Driving Innovation

Lenskart recognized the need for a dedicated team to tackle scalability challenges, support multi-facility operations, and provide real-time inventory updates. This led to the formation of the NexS team, tasked with redesigning and modernizing the company’s inventory management systems.

The NexS team was created to bring all systems in-house and replace monolithic or older systems. The goal was to introduce new systems while redesigning the older ones, eliminating external dependencies.

To achieve real-time automation, when a customer places an order, it flows from the order management system to the inventory management system (IMS). The IMS immediately reserves the specific eyewear piece, preventing overselling. This real-time connection ensures accurate inventory levels and avoids underselling situations. 

To improve scalability, NexS tackled scalability limitations by adopting a microservice architecture. This breaks down their system into smaller, independent services. Each service can be scaled up or down based on traffic, ensuring the overall system remains adaptable and reliable. Kubernetes streamlines deployment, while various data stores (SQL, NoSQL, ES, Mongo) enable faster and more reliable data processing. Messaging queues like Kafka further contribute to performance improvements.

This integration exemplifies how NexS utilizes technology for both scalability and real-time operations.

Key Features and Functionalities of Lens Kart’s IMS:

1. Demand Forecasting: Lenskart’s IMS employs sophisticated algorithms that analyze historical sales data, market trends, seasonal patterns, and customer behavior to forecast demand for each product accurately. This enables the company to plan production, procurement, and distribution strategies effectively.

2. Inventory Optimization: Based on demand forecasts, the IMS determines the optimal inventory levels for each product at different stages of the supply chain, considering factors such as lead times, safety stock requirements, and carrying costs. This helps minimize stockouts and overstocking situations, reducing inventory holding costs and improving cash flow.

3. Automated Replenishment: The IMS automatically generates Purchase Orders and triggers manufacturing processes based on predefined reorder points and safety stock levels. This ensures that inventory is replenished promptly, minimizing stockouts and maintaining a consistent supply of products to meet customer demand.

4. Multi-Channel Integration: Lenskart’s IMS seamlessly integrates its online and offline sales channels, providing a unified view of inventory across the entire network. This enables efficient allocation of stock to different channels based on demand patterns and customer preferences, improving overall availability and customer satisfaction.

5. Real-Time Visibility: The IMS provides real-time visibility into inventory levels, order statuses, and supply chain operations through intuitive dashboards and reporting tools. This empowers managers to make informed decisions, identify bottlenecks, and take proactive measures to optimize operations.

6. Quality Control: Lenskart’s IMS incorporates quality control processes, ensuring that only products meeting the company’s stringent quality standards are released for sale. This includes automated checks for defects, compliance with regulatory requirements, and adherence to customer specifications.

Overcoming Challenges:

Implementing such a comprehensive overhaul of Lenskart’s IMS was not without its challenges. Veerkesari and Jadav highlighted two key obstacles: the knowledge gap within the newly formed NexS team and the need to onboard employees to work with cutting-edge tech stacks.

“We had to bring in resources and inputs to establish the team,” Jadav said. “Collaborating with different teams helped us identify use cases and design the IMS and CID effectively.”

To bridge the knowledge gap and upskill employees, the NexS team conducted continuous workshops and rigorous training sessions, enabling them to work with technologies like microservices, cloud computing, Kubernetes, messaging queues, and various data stores.

Written by

Ramaneesh

Follow Us