The apparel supply chain moves quickly, with new styles coming in and out in rapid succession. Slower adapters find themselves at a distinct disadvantage if they can't move quickly with the fashions. Just-style recently spoke to leaders in the fashion field to gather a variety of opinions on software solutions for the apparel supply chain. The consensus is that supply chain management solutions should make processes more visible and bring partners closer together. B2B integration is an important component of the supply chain management experience.
Integration is a must
Business developer Mike Hill told the source that streamlining the supply chain is the key to competing in an environment wracked with higher costs. The key is close B2B integration, according to Hill, all along the supply chain. He stated that distributors should develop close institutional ties not only with their tier-one suppliers but with partners all the way down the chain, including the companies behind their materials. He stated that when solving the problems brought on by high costs, companies cannot afford to slow down their business processes to make the switch.
Hill was not the only expert to encourage companies to integrate with their partners. Bob McKee, a fashion industry expert with a software firm, also stressed the importance of data integration. He stated that the globally connected nature of the market has placed the power in the hands of consumers. In the age of ecommerce, customers can purchase goods from anywhere, meaning the company with the best software system can take advantage of that reach, especially if the software is spread throughout the whole ecosystem. The worldwide prevalence of ecommerce means that systems such as transaction management are now requisite.
"We know that 'time to market' is a very important part of the supply chain process. But what apparel manufacturers need to focus on is 'time to consumer' - how long it takes from design, to production, to getting the product in front of, and into, the hands of the consumer (or maybe onto the backs of)," McKee told the source.
Apparel speeds up
According to Reuters, the U.S. apparel market has sped up considerably in recent months. In an effort to fight back against European companies that seem to be better able to tap into trends quickly, American companies are reducing the time items spend in the supply pipeline. This acceleration can be helped by having strong and up-to-date supply management software.