Five Steps for the Fashion Industry to Optimize its Supply Chain

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Supply chains over the past few years have changed tremendously. From complications such as demand volatility to the ripple effects of global bottlenecks, there’s an urgent need to optimize supply chain networks.

Consider supply chain network optimization as a thorough evaluation of the technology, application, and other resources you utilize daily to execute all operations involved in running your fashion business. Experts in supply chain management and logistics both highly advocate leveraging newer technologies that can streamline your processes in an efficient manner.

After all, your supply chain is a constantly expanding mechanism that is driven by a variety of factors. Furthermore, your business's supply chain doesn't consist of unitary processes, rather supply chain network optimization must cover all facets of your business that concern the supply chain. According to research, the global apparel industry was worth $1.5 trillion in 2020, however, the number is expected to grow by 50% mounting towards a total of $2.25 trillion by 2025. Consumer demands are exceedingly tilting towards fashion and apparel items as the surge of globalization continues.

Fashion Sourcing – The Duo of Speed and Agility

According to Mckinsey, for the first time in the last decade the costs associated with fashion sourcing have been the highest and there are no signs of a reduction in these costs. For sourcing professionals, this is a cause of worry especially because of the fact that fashion supply chains are getting complicated by the day. Consumer behavior along with strenuous time cycles is making it harder to sustain let alone increase productivity. Raw material pricing is touching sky-high and there’s no other way around it. Apparel companies have now been forced to undertake a newer and innovative approach that relies on enhanced agility and pivots towards demand-driven supply chains.

The Challenge of Disruptive Fashion Supply Chains:

Before we can get into how we can optimize our supply chains, it is essential we understand the current challenges the fashion supply chains face. Fashion and apparel businesses that don’t prioritize efficient supply chain processes and broader value chains often leave themselves susceptible to high risks. One of the biggest challenges the industry faces is demand and production volatility. Soaring political instability as well as the impact of the pandemic has left us with supply chains that are fragile and there’s an urgent need to be prepared to counter volatility. Here are five steps that can help you to better optimize your supply chain network:

The Five Stages of Supply Chain Network Optimization:

Supply chain professionals are facing dire consequences and are eager to avoid mishaps by optimizing their operational infrastructure by leveraging enhanced supply chain networks. Changing consumer trends lead to demand volatility and to counter this, a business must adapt a model where the emphasis is towards leveraging an end-to-end supply chain visibility solution. For a product to deliver enhanced visibility, it is essential that transparency, from manufacturing to end-consumer, must be maintained through a digital supply chain.

As businesses race towards adopting digital transformation initiatives, their ultimate goal should be to navigate the following 5 stages to optimize their supply chain network:

Stage 1: Sustained end-to-end connectivity

Establishing end-to-end connectivity must be a priority for apparel and fashion businesses as the digital supply chain interweaves multiple partners and consists of vast information. An end-to-end supply chain visibility solution ensures that your fashion supply chain is able to facilitate collaboration with multiple channel partners and ensures that you’re able to forge stronger relationships. A seamlessly connected supply chain ensures that activity is increased exponentially which ultimately leads towards concentration of information.

While fashion outlets or retailers are very much relevant, fashion companies are now required to connect across manifold channels that include e-marketplaces and even their own eCommerce space.

Stage 2: Forecast with precision

In the past, supply chain models have always relied on historical data. However, with changing times there’s a dire need to accurately predict demand volatility. Forecasting accurately is essential for businesses as it allows them to negate disruptions and plan according to demand forecasts. Thanks to heaps of data out there, integration with big data system enables you to see the bigger picture. Fashion and apparel manufacturers urgently need to utilize solutions that leverage advanced AI/ML techniques that can enable them to accurately predict the future.

Stage 3: Implement a planned execution strategy

Leveraging demand forecasting, fashion and apparel businesses must respond aptly to the story the data tells. Demand forecasting will allow us to look deep into the horizon and enable us to address challenges including production and inventory capacity throughout the digital supply chain. All partner networks that include factories, logistics, and warehouses must be coordinated in accordance with the current needs. Strategizing hence is essential, and once the execution occurs it’s time to seize control.

Stage 4: Managing demand:

Supply chains are continuously in motion; hence it is essential that a fashion and apparel supplier must aptly manage facets including demand, production and optimize the inventory accordingly. This allows the fashion supplier to remain in control and manage costs, product placement and pricing. This practice will also allow you to keep tabs on creating healthy margins in the future.

Stage 5: Creating an Ecosystem:

Sustained optimization of your supply chain network can only be accomplished if an ecosystem is created around it. For you to execute this, you must utilize a solution that focuses on partnering with a set of key suppliers to achieve flexibility and transparency. Creating a digital supply chain ecosystem will allow fashion and apparel suppliers to improve speed, flexibility and agility.

HauteLogic – A Visionet Solution

HauteLogic is Visionet’s solution specially designed for the Fashion and Apparel Industry, envisions a holistic ecosystem that enables swift transformation of your digital supply chain. It leverages its four dimensions that include connected commerce, digital sourcing, resilient supply chain and planning. HauteLogic thrives on the implementation of these four dimensions and promises an experience that increases productivity and overall performance of your fashion business.

Get in touch with our experts to learn more.

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