Early December 2011 my sisters and I thought of a great Christmas present for our parents: Jeans that fit 100%. I had read about this new concept of made-to-measure jeans developed by a rather new company, which I will call Denim Comp. in this blog.
When I originally read about Denim Comp., I immediately wanted
to buy something from them. The idea was fresh and so "today":
Shopping with a little bit of luxury experience and, as a result,
you receive jeans that don't wring or feel wrong, at a reasonable
price. But as it was close to Christmas, I had made a promise to
myself: I will not buy anything for me, I'll only buy for others.
So, I ended up buying gift cards for my parents from the online
service and had them delivered to my home.
"Someone must really love you to have given
you this great present"
That is what the gift card said. Additionally the promise was:
choose from eleven colors, five cuts, four effects and countless
tuning options and have your perfect jeans delivered home in an
average of 6 weeks of your fitting.
Body measuring in April - delivery in June -
So, it took my parents a little time before they had time to
take the 200 km drive to the store, where their measurements were
taken. Eventually they got there in April. They were measured by a
lady in the store and they selected the colors, fits, effects and
tuning of their jeans. They were told that the jeans would arrive
in 6-8 weeks. To put it short: my mother's perfect-fit jeans
should have arrived by the end of June. They arrived on December
Denim Comp. is the perfect example of a company who could fairly
easily fix their process problems with the help of RFID. In my
mother's case, I estimate that they would have been able to deliver
the jeans some 38-50 days earlier. They would have saved an awful
lot of money, their reputation and they would have been able to
keep the money I originally paid them for the jeans.
My mother's red, custom-made, high-wasted
End of April
Measurements have been taken and delivery is promised in 6-8
weeks → latest in the end of June
At this point everything is still going fairly well for
Denim Comp. When a new customer comes to the store, they are given
an identity in the store's CRM-equivalent system. This would be a
great place to issue an RFID card with the customer number written
to it. Make it a credit card -type, which will be shipped with the
sewing instructions to the subcontractor. When the
subcontractor finishes the jeans, the RFID card should be put in
the back pocket. This way, when the jeans arrive, they are scanned
and the database of arrived items is updated. Before you ship them
to your end customer, remove the RFID card from the pocket and
recycle it to save costs.
Jeans delivered: they have a low waste and they are too wide (the
ticket sent with the jeans stated that they should have a high
New measurements were taken. Confirmation of the delivery date:
week 36/37 (so anytime between September the 3rd and 14th)
In this case the RFID card would have been re-written with
the right measurements and preferences and send with sewing
instructions to the subcontractor. Again they would add the RFID
card to the back pocket, so that they can be scanned at
arrival and immediately updated in the system.
The jeans had not been delivered as promised. A call to Denim
Comp. revealed that the jeans had actually arrived, but they did
not match the description, so quality control had stopped them.
Denim Comp. promised to give us information on how the process was
When the jeans arrive, you scan them and the RFID card shows
the jeans have arrived to your office. Once your quality control
notices a problem, they scan the RFID card again and add the
information "wrong make" to this particular pair of jeans. The
system is now able to inform the end-customer that a problem has
been detected (Denim Comp. has the customer email data in the
CRM-equivalent system). The RFID card is again sent back to the
subcontractor with details about how to fix the problem. In my
mother's case, the jeans were due to be delivered in 4 weeks, this
would have been October the 12th. Scanning the delivery from the
subcontractor would have revealed the truth to Denim Comp. "We are
missing this particular pair of jeans." Where is it? Instead, they
had to find it out from me - again loosing weeks for keeping the
promise made to the customer.
Still no information about the jeans. I chose to send an email to
Denim Comp. to state that the jeans were already 2 weeks overdue. I
received an automatic reply saying that they would answer me in 24
The email had been sent in the morning, so I waited until the
afternoon and called Denim Comp. The number given to me in the
previous email did not work, so I called another number. Finally an
answer, but I was informed that I needed to talk to someone else,
so I was given a new number only to be totally dumbfounded: The
person on the line did not work for Denim Comp, she worked for
Finally I got a hold of someone who knew something: "I'm afraid it
looks like the jeans were never made, the measurements were sent
By scanning the RFID cards of all items arriving from the
subcontractor, information about the missing jeans would have
reached Denim Comp. and they would have been able to re-order them
Denim Comp. decided to refund the money, yet still send us the
jeans. New delivery date: November the 9th.
No sign of the jeans.
I called Denim Comp. "I thought the jeans were delivered a long
time ago" said the person answering the phone.
When making a stock take of all the jeans in the stock room,
Denim Comp. would have noticed that there is an extra pair of jeans
there and someone would have started to wonder where these jeans
really should be and corrected the mistake.
Denim Comp. calls me: "The jeans exist, but they are a bit too
long." They were to be shortened and then shipped to my mother
arriving by December the 10th.
Delivery, at last! The jeans fit and my mother is actually very
happy with them.
Why is RFID a no-brainer for the likes of
- Denim Comp. works online and complaints are easily spread and
found by potential customers.
- Denim Comp. is currently losing customers due to unreliable
- Denim Comp. would stop losing money by delivering what was
promised, instead of ending up refounding or handing out gift
- When using an internal system as described here, the costs of
implementing RFID are reasonable, I would guess on a ROI in less
than 12 months - just look at American
Denim Comp. has a good concept and a good product. They have
every chance of succeeding once they get their information flow and
deliveries sorted out. And there is no better agent for this than