Fashion trends change with every new season-this is what it has always been. What they didn’t see before was a wide-scale pandemic. Since 2020, fashion brands have seen unusual supply shortages of raw materials.
As a precautionary measure, major brands are now hoarding their supply chains. They are also setting up locations nearer to their suppliers, increasing operational fluidity. An approach to sustainable creation is becoming the norm.
What are the new challenges?
The pandemic’s last two years created a global supply chain shortage. As the pandemic peaked, a reduction in supply demands accelerated.
Fabric producers reduced production, anticipating lower demand in the market. Although the markets were down, it was only for a while.
Online shopping accelerated at a never-before-seen rate in 2021. Most consumers stayed indoors, and shopping online became the new norm. Markets were soon experiencing high demand, and the supply shortage intensified. Brands are now creating larger storage spaces to tackle this demand.
Fast fashion has caused a rampant increase in textile wastelands across Africa. Sustainable methods of production are the only solution. Of Course, using cutting-edge technologies for fashion supply chain is also vital!
Sourcing materials from nearby countries is crucial to keeping a check on pollution. It means focusing less on significant exporters like China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India. So, for instance, European fashion brands should source fabrics from countries like Turkey rather than China.
How to address these challenges?
Here are significant measures any fashion brand willing to survive in the online e-commerce race has to adopt:
1.Modify the number of suppliers.
Radically restructure your supply chain to gain insights about shortcomings in your supply chain. Due to the pandemic, there is scope for optimizing the number of suppliers in light of their prior work as part of the supply chain optimization process.
This process will allow you to evaluate market changes and select the most relevant solutions for creating sustainable business and production models. It will enable your fashion brand to reach more people and boost sales.
The relationship between fashion brands and suppliers is becoming closer as both optimize their methods to match sustainable practices and become socially responsible. Several supply chain optimization strategies are available in the fashion market today. Use technology efficiently for manufacturing products. Such large-scale planning can prove beneficial to your fashion brand.
2.Adapt to new consumer habits.
Identifying and analyzing consumer needs can go a long way in the fashion industry. Social media has influenced our behaviors over time. We have become accustomed to getting what we want with just a few clicks.
Several brands offer “buy now, pay later” options for payment of products; such flexible payment methods can boost your product sales appreciably.
A few companies, like Fenwick, have taken this to another level by using an ERP system. This system lets you track your stock and other relevant data collection samples.
Using such analytics, you can easily track what is most requested by influencers or stylists. These tools can also keep track of the most searched products and the demand for specific products before they enter the market. Applying informatics will enable you to understand production needs, find problems beforehand, and use resources efficiently.
3.Organize product development, product design, and other supply chain processes.
Companies with the most efficiency across supply chains tend to segment their market approaches. Let’s break it down.:
- Geography: Is the market local, regional, or global?
- Category: Does the market cater to men, women, or children?
- Customer: Is the customer buying wholesale or retail?
By analyzing these factors, you’ll get a clear idea of what supply chain will work best for your fashion brand. Choose the most efficient and eco-friendly solutions to come off as a socially responsible brand.
4.Get creative and build a flexible business model.
Having a modern vision for your fashion brand is critical to its success. It will require your supply lines to develop creative options and products. Experiment with miniature models and integrate them to provide new products to your fashion brand continuously.
You can analyze demand by producing items on a small scale first. Produce the most popular products on a large scale to use resources efficiently and maximize profits.
Similarly, consider streamlining the supply chain using sustainable manufacturing procedures. You can share the cost with your clients. This interaction between fashion brands and suppliers is excellent for building a sustainable business model and means more verticalization.
This evolution in the fashion industry will enable you to consider more factors and, in turn, streamline your supply chain. A highly efficient supply chain can create a healthy relationship with suppliers while being considerate towards the environment.
5.Create plans outside of your supply chain.
Apart from creating an effective supply chain, make sure that there are similar interests between your brand and the supply chain. You should be able to use your resources to produce quality products.
Additionally, all of the participants in your supply chain should have a clear understanding of this relationship. This synergy can prove to be a powerhouse for your fashion brand.
For example, the Rana Plaza (Bangladesh) Disaster in 2013 shook the world when more than 1,000 workers died in an accident. The plaza partially collapsed due to poor building conditions. Several fashion industry players used the plaza to manufacture garments. It was a significant wake-up call to countless people, companies, and institutions.
Voices were raised against unfair worker treatment and exploitation. Consequently, most companies in the fashion industry have begun implementing CSR strategies and modifying supply chains. This move has effectively provided safe working conditions for the supply chain industry.
Creating a sustainable supply chain for fashion brands has seen significant activity in the last few years. Engage with your supply group and plan to use resources efficiently and minimize losses. Take a holistic approach to your supply chain industry to stay ahead of your competitors.