Supply Chain vs Fashion - Institute of Supply Chain Management
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Supply Chain vs Fashion

  • General News
  • 1st June 2018

In this week’s guest blog we look at how supply chain management is impacting the fashion industry.

Nowadays, the fashion industry is facing unprecedented challenges which can be attributed to the rise of industrialization and demands of the consumer regarding transparency and quality. As per a recent survey produced by the state of fashion 2018, the third biggest challenge is the digitalization and automation of the supply chain. Interestingly, more than 70% of the executives who are surveyed are of the opinion that Artificial Intelligence would be implemented in the supply chains of major brands. In order to stay ahead of the competition in today’s rapidly changing retail landscape, the fashion brands have to comprehend the emerging technologies which can shape the operations of the supply chain.

The elements that are propelling the fashion brands to implement changes in their supply chains

The technology enabled procedures are facilitating the manufacturers with a precise view of the whole supply line. Here is the list of elements that are causing the alteration process.

Flexibility of the supply chain

The backend procedures since a long period of time have been kept unchanged as they are invisible to the consumer. A lot goes on behind the scenes which enables a customer to relish the final product. For instance, an automated supply chain would provide rich dividends to a fashion brand. Interestingly, a brand can maintain flexibility in its reaction time only when it is able to manage data quickly. Interestingly, procuring and assessing data at each step of a supply chain would also allow the fashion brands to implement decisions that are more accurate. This is possible only when the whole supply chain is automated. This is also the reason that Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP systems are widely used in the supply chain of reputed fashion brands. As per a Gartner report, the fashion brands that would transfer their supply chains to ERP would enjoy a response rate of over 80%.

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Cloud based operations

There is no point in denying the fact that a lot of major fashion brands are increasingly becoming internationalized and decentralized. In order to maintain a uniform work flow between all the centers situated across various regions of the world, one has to optimize the work flow. This work flow optimization is possible only when the operations are cloud based. It is also interesting to note here that by the usage of a digital management system on a cloud would always allow the teams to synchronize all the necessary updates about a particular product on a uniform basis. This would make sure that the supply chain is strengthened.

Fashion brands need to adapt to the new buying cycle of the consumers

It is a widely accepted fact that social media has brought a sea change in the way fashion brands need to operate. It also has a major say in the consumer buying patterns. This is the reason that a fashion brand needs to identify the needs of its consumers well ahead of the time. Companies usually do this by monitoring and measuring the product launch campaigns. A lot of fashion brands are also using the ERP system to control their supply chain. In this manner, they are ensuring that their products never go out of stock. And when a company is always able to meet the requirements of its consumers, it would always be successful.

The aspect of quality and transparency in the supply chain of fashion brands

If a fashion brand has the required amount of quality and transparency in its supply chain. It would always stay as a favorite among its consumers. It is so because todays customers are becoming increasingly conscientious and are also becoming socially responsible. Nowadays, the fashion companies are also working on various CSR strategies to optimize their supply chains. In this manner, they are working steadily towards the growth of a circular economy.

Certain trends that are impacting the supply chain process of fashion brands

In order to sustain in the slit-throat world of completion, the fashion brands should always take into account the recent trends impacting their supply chain process. Here is the list of them.

The inclusion of artificial intelligence

It is important to note that a majority of fashion brands are in dire need of solutions that can align directly with product distribution. In this manner, the brand can reduce profit-degrading markdowns. Artificial Intelligence is fast providing this solution by improving the efficiency of warehouse operations. It also assesses sales to identify which products are popular. This gives an indication to companies to stock those products in excess quantities.

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The rise of wearable technology

Innovative forms of technologies are also being incorporated into warehouses to increase communication efficiency within the staff members. These wearable technologies are also making it sure that rapid real time data sharing is possible with the help of voice commands and instant picture capture options. For instance, smart watches are increasingly being used in warehouses of Nike to facilitate effective communication within the staff. The staff members only have to glance at the watches for any upcoming updates. In this manner, the supply chain of major fashion brands are adapting to the new challenges of the technology.

The success of a fashion brand would always be dependent on the way it adapts itself to the challenges. On the other hand, it is also a widely accepted fact that taking your brand out of its comfort zone may seem daunting, but it would always revitalise the brand.

Writer bio

I’m a freelance content writer, copyeditor, copywriter and proofreader with more than 4 years experience based in Mumbai, India. I’m a keen writer. My work is expressive, without being ‘flowery’. I pride myself on attention to detail and professionalism.

Thank you Isha for your article.

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