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Jul. 30, 2020

Fashion’s Supply Chain Reset Demands Better Technology to Build Resilience


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The fashion industry is in need of a reset. Pandemic and global shutdowns have caused loss and disorder. Hyper-efficiency, once the gold standard of the supply chain, has become a liability, as gaps in supplier cadences, lack of available airfreight, and blank sailings undermine just-in-time manufacturing.

In the wake of the voluminous disruption, three factors are reshaping the fashion marketplace:

  1. Trade uncertainty. With pundits and economists still wondering what shape the economic recovery will take, one thing has become certain: supply chains are fragile and businesses are being forced to re-examine their strategies and operations.
  2. Consumer shifts. Seasonal revenues have chilled due to changing consumer priorities, prompting many brands to rethink their distribution models.
  3. Supply volatility. Erratic market conditions have taken their toll on supply, causing orders to be sidelined or cancelled. In turn, this has had a ripple effect on inventory levels and how best to manage the resulting surplus or dearth. With the supply chain in chaos, companies are applying discounts or lowering prices, hoping to salvage what they can.

In an industry that relies on seasonal demand to move product, today’s striking unpredictability is pushing businesses to adapt or die. Especially since air—so critical for meeting that seasonal demand—has been largely out of commission due to urgent shipments of personal protective equipment.

Apparel businesses are now pressed to identify ways to operate with far more agility and look for ways to improve forecasting accuracy. Key to this transformation is data and technology, which, when combined with logistics expertise, can streamline shipments for ongoing business continuity—even in the face of a pandemic. But the transformation also relies on fresh approaches to overall supply chain management.

To learn more about how fashion brands can regain control of the supply chain during a time of volatility, download The Fashion Supply Chain: Lessons and Strategies to Move Fashion Forward Amid Disruption.

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