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BBI of Chicago
November 2021

Agile Method and Data Science: How Brazilian Apparel Can Benefit

By: Lucila Augusto da Costa Lorencette.

The Brazilian textile and apparel industry is the fourth largest worldwide. According to data from the Brazilian Association of Textile Industries - ABIT, since December 2020, they generated 1.5 million direct jobs and 8 million indirect jobs, in 2019 it had a revenue of R$ 185,7 million. The Brazilian apparel industry is mostly composed of small companies with a reduced and family structure, with very little investment in innovation and product development is not thought of strategically.

Some national companies have already changed their working method and have shown great results through agile methodology and data science. They are managing to direct their product development towards the real needs and desires of their customers. Such is the case for Aramis and Amaro, which have adopted the agile methodology. Amaro also developed its own system for analyzing data collected through its website, Instagram, and other data collected in places it does not reveal to create its collection. This data helps you understand which products your customers will want to buy shortly. C&A uses data collected from its so-called “school stores”; the best-known school stores are C&A from Shopping Center Norte and C&A from Shopping Morumbi, both in the city of São Paulo. Two large stores with a large flow of people that are the first to receive everything that will be launched, sales and consumer behavior in these stores are studied and help predict the behavior and sales of other stores in the chain.

For smaller companies, data collection can be initiated through the ERP system that the companies already have and, following Amaro's example, information from the brand's social networks. By examining information such as age, the city where consumers live, product values, what was and what was not sold, it is already possible to think of an efficient collection structure. As the collection matures, other data can and should be analyzed according to the brand's needs and objectives.

In small companies, the agile method often must be adapted to their reality. The advantage of the agile methodology is that it makes the company quick to respond to changes. At Amaro, the design of a piece is often posted on their social networks, and consumers are asked for opinions. This adaptation of the method prevents the company from losing money in products that the target audience did not show interest in.

The agile method is not bureaucratic and works with the team's engagement in delivering the best, for that purpose the company's culture must change and to be understood and accepted by everyone, in addition to the training of the leadership or professionals involved. At Aramis, 75% of the leadership had to be replaced for this method to work. Analyzing data can expose old certainties that were wrong and need to be changed. The leader who is at the forefront of change needs to be clear on the facts and have skill in dealing with people. The team and leadership need to keep in mind that these two methods will make it easier to work in many ways, especially when making decisions, as it will be clear to the team why, when, and what to change. For the Brazilian fashion industry to evolve, old paradigms need to be broken, and new concepts must be explored.


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