Recently we sat down with Flora Davidson, Co-Founder of SupplyCompass, to get a deeper understanding of the company and its differentiators.
Can you tell us about SupplyCompass and what makes you unique?
We set out to rethink how products are designed and produced for the digital age. With our platform, trusted supplier network, and experienced team, we empower brands and manufacturers to work better together by digitizing the entire product development process from design to delivery. This enables brands to build and manage global supply chains stress-free, and ensures brands receive high quality, sustainable products.
We are developing our end-to-end solution not just for brands, but for every player in the value chain. It is essentially a new digitized and standardized way of working for global fashion supply chains, that works for people, planet, and profit.
Beyond the obvious trends, what will be the next big thing in the fashion industry in 3-5 years?
Fashion supply chains, sourcing, and production processes haven't been subject to the same fast-moving trends as the consumer-facing side of the industry. The impact of COVID-19 really highlights the need for digital transformation within fashion—an industry that has been slower than others.
Fashion brands and manufacturers have been forced to change how they work, almost overnight, with whole workforces ‘WFH.’ Businesses are adapting and finding new ways of designing collections and ways to manage complex global supply chains, from their homes. If you can’t sit in a room all together to design next season, if you can’t go on design research trips, and if you can’t visit your factory’s showroom or receive samples through the post, what does the alternative look like?
I believe this global pandemic has the potential to be the catalyst for huge change and that this time under lockdown will free people from set ways of doing things, enabling new habits and approaches. It’s likely we will see a huge overhaul of the entire fashion system over the next 12 months, as every single business fights for survival and experiments with new solutions.
The big thing in 3-5 years will be circularity and closing the loop. For this to happen, a huge amount of time and investment is needed over the next few years to digitize global supply chains at every stage.
What competitive advantages can a fashion brand build into its supply chain?
How can technology transform the fashion industry? What role does SupplyCompass play?
Technology is fundamental to the transformation of the industry. The entire infrastructure of supply chains required a digital overhaul prior to COVID-19. Without technology, sustainability is hard to implement, measure, and improve upon. At the same time, the robust, flexible business models that the industry needs, can only be serviced with innovation and digital supply networks, easy access to accurate data, and heightened workflow collaboration.
Our role as a company is to help fashion brands cut through the complexities of both the fashion supply chain and integration of technology, by providing a platform for all core functions to be easily digitized and managed. This will give them a strong base to further build more innovative systems.
You work with many designers, production managers, and fashion brand owners. What are the major supply chain challenges fashion brands are facing? How can SupplyCompass help?
We’ve observed two main challenges:
What is one thing fashion brands should be adopting but are not yet?
We see businesses struggling to get the fundamentals right in terms of product development and production management. There’s no point talking about technology such as blockchain, AI, and on-demand manufacturing until there’s a solid digital core for basic functions. We speak to companies with more than 1,000 employees that still use Powerpoint, Excel, and WhatsApp to manage complex global supply chains, when these tools are simply not built for this.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, what advice do you give your customers?
Be open and flexible, honor your commitments, speak to your factories regularly, and experiment with new tools and systems. Use this time to add skills, streamline your processes, and build a robust sustainability plan.
What’s ahead for SupplyCompass?
Much of our focus will be on developing our product for manufacturers, mills, and others. Our aim is to get suppliers right at the start of the value chain working with the SupplyCompass platform. We will continue our digitizing of fashion supply chains so we can provide measurable and meaningful data on social and environmental impact.
What are the most important values to you as a business?
Historically fashion has been known as a polluting industry. In recent years sustainability has become more important for both brands and consumers. What are the main opportunities to reduce the impact of fashion?
We look at sustainability in three core areas:
Tune in to our upcoming webinar to learn more about how businesses in the fashion industry can build momentum as they emerge from COVID-19.
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