How clothes are designed and sold – an interesting topic that concerns everyone. But what do we really know about the challenges facing the retail market today and what makes a brand successful?
We know that trends change rapidly and new brands appear every day. Innovations can be copied extremely quickly across the globe. And, in the retail industry, the most expensive elements often don’t appear on the cost sheet. The cost of markdowns for instance: the number of items you will not be able to sell at your price because your trend has already been copied and put on the market at a far lower cost.
Not only do fashion houses need to create demand through innovation, they also need to get those innovations to market faster than competitors – designing new apparel and getting it to manufacture within days.
This is easier said than done, especially with today’s complicated and ever-changing supply chains. A recent article in French trade journal Le Journal du Textile, looks at the sourcing cartography of the textile and clothing industry today. Evident from the article: fabrics and clothes are sourced from many places around the world, depending on different criteria like production cost, quality, geographical proximity.
Reducing cycle time within a globally dispersed system is key to capturing rapid trends which ensure fashion hits with customers. But, even with the best people and competencies, this is difficult to achieve. Implementing tools that can help improve communications across your team and synchronize your processes is essential to avoiding the bottleneck.
PLM enables involvement across supply chain and processes. Driven by a common database, each player is able to access up-to-date information, making it easier to track costs, regulation compliance and manufacturability, at all stages of the process.
What are the biggest challenges you face in collaborating with your suppliers during product development? Are you involving your supply chain early in the design process?