Nearly every industry is beginning to feel the impact of the transforming world. Complex consumer demand, e-commerce, and modern technology have upended most conventional business models. The fashion and apparel industry is now starting to realize that this outside pressure is weighing on their business practices and the only way to compete is to focus on their supply chain. New challenges are presenting themselves at an alarming rate and without innovating and adapting to current trends, designers next look may never reach customers.
Recently the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc partnered up with DHL, their logistics partner, to get to the bottom of the challenges facing the industry and what role the supply chain will play.
The conventional supply chain in the apparel industry separated designers from consumers through a heavily siloed and rigid process. This left most of the power in the hands of the manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors but this is all beginning to change. Digital business models and new, modern services have shifted the balance of influence and designers need to adapt in order to survive. With power distributed throughout the fashion supply chain, designers will need to become much more involved with their flow of materials, manufacturing partners and find savings through the distribution process by leveraging modern supply chain technologies in their favor.
Consumers have become much more influential. With literally billions of options all available at a click of a button, designers have to pay considerable attention to the speed in which their products can reach consumers. Whether it be through retailers or direct to consumer, a manageable and efficient supply chain will be vital. Innovative technologies are beginning to open up new doors offering apparel professions the power to control and gain unprecedented insight into their distribution practices which have the potential to bolster their competitive advantage.
As the fashion industry begins to embrace digital business models to meet increasing expectations there are now emerging technologies that can work in tandem with the shifting industry. Some of these technologies help increase speed, visibility, and create an environment where collaboration can thrive. These emerging technologies offer designers the option to get more hands-on with their distribution network and gain better insight into their own supply chains.
The way in which retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers handle their supply chains are changing rapidly. Understanding what this will mean in the apparels industry will be vital in order to remain competitive. In fashion, demand is becoming much more complex and speed to market is everything. If designers aren’t able to efficiently and effectively distribute a specific product line fast enough, those that have a more sophisticated way of handling their supply network could beat them to the punch.
The fashion industry is in an interesting position. On one hand, technologies are making it easier than ever before for designers to maintain control over their distribution process. However, those that aren’t up to the innovation challenge will fall behind. The best way to ensure a brand continues to reach its customers in the highly competitive fashion and apparel industry is to utilize the latest supply chain technologies and embrace the digital future.