A garment manufacturers guide to an efficient end to end process through digitisation.
A garment manufacturers guide to an efficient end to end process through digitisation. There remains little doubt that changing consumer behavior, enabled by technology and on-line retailing, is driving massive change throughout the entire the fashion supply chain. Most recently, significant market disruptors, including the likes of Amazon and Yoox, plus trends such as mass customisation are demanding a massive increase in the pace of that change. To date, Brands and Manufacturers have responded with varying degrees of urgency to address the ongoing challenges around speed, cost, order complexity, innovation and transparency. Emerging strategies have included the continued pursuit of lower cost manufacturing regions (now with far fewer options), vertical integration or JV activity, VMI programs, sourcing proximity and on-shoring. Leading players also continue to incorporate impressive innovation and productivity gains into their strategies, through determined and continuous initiatives, including LEAN. This valuable activity will undoubtedly help, but digitisation is increasingly acknowledged as a vital ingredient. The recent McKinsey report entitled ‘The apparel sourcing caravan’s next stop: Digitisation’ *(1) stated: ‘Digitisation could enable apparel companies to achieve a step change in performance, transform to a customer-centric operating model, and create transparency throughout their global supply chains.’ The same report documented the results of interviews with 63 leading executives on the status and their plans for digitisation. 80% rated their digital maturity as ‘low’ or ‘very low’. The same executives rated ‘end to end process efficiency’ as the single most important priority for focus and change, to ensure that margins can be protected and business are able to achieve speed to market goals. In this management briefing, we look at what this means to a typical fashion manufacturing business and we discuss practical steps towards end to end process efficiency.