The fashion & lifestyle industry is one the largest industries, but also one of the ones most often facing delays and hurdles, with frequent disruptions seen often. Brands are faced with multiple challenges, making it critical for them to adapt and discover versatile processes that can redefine their end-to end-supply chain beyond hurdles.
Complex supply chains and the rise of ecommerce
Current demands of ecommerce, along with a retail landscape reshaped by the pandemic, has presented problems for many brands, adding further complexity to already complex supply chains. Consumers now have higher expectations; they want an experience that’s beyond the realm of a simple purchase transaction. Similarly, carriers, shippers, managers, and the like will demand a better customer experience and more integrated end-to-end logistics.
Fashion retailers need to deliver personalised engagement at every stage of the customer journey — from the moment of inspiration to product discovery, brand engagement, sales conversion, fulfilment and returns.
This has resulted in the need for a merger between the digital and physical worlds to create a new source of value, with brands creating and utilising the right strategy to succeed in this new environment. This is the omnichannel imperative.
Uncertainties demand effective supply chain management
In addition to this, there are uncertainties around novel capsule collaborations, new product trends and international trade that can swiftly destabilise trusted supplier relationships. In such times, managing consumer expectations, product quality, inventory volume and fashion supplier relationships are key to effective supply chain management.
Transforming to a modern supply chain and creating growth
Traditional supply chain strategies have often focused on operational efficiency. When operational efficiency is the priority, companies strive to squeeze as much cost out of the supply chain as possible. That goal, in turn, drives supplier selection, manufacturing strategies, product design and distribution and logistics. Typically, production and distribution decisions are based on long-term forecasts, inventories of finished goods are located close to customer demand, and components are often sourced from low-cost countries.
However, recent events have showed that this format no longer works best. A modern fashion & lifestyle supply chain needs a hybrid framework — it strikes a balance between efficiency and responsiveness. With responsiveness comes agility and flexibility that are vital to meet the needs of a company and its customers. This allows businesses to satisfy demands quickly and eliminate stock-outs. Manufacturing or product assembly is based on real-time data rather than forecasts. Products may be customised, inventories of components can be maximised, while that of finished goods are minimised, and speed is prioritised.
Striking that perfect balance between peaks and lulls in demand is essential. Better responsiveness paves the path for a resilient supply chain by helping companies meet their customers’ changing demands for shorter lead times, customised products and a robust e-commerce presence. This strategic approach is the lynchpin for and that makes fashion & lifestyle brands resilient to industry-wide disruptions.
To stay competitive, supply chain leaders need end-to-end processes, from alternative routes and locations to having inventory closer to origin or destination is critical. For this to happen effectively, you need a strategic partnership with your supply chain partners, as well as an integrated supply chain.
What are the benefits of this hybrid framework?
When executed well, the framework will lead to lower supply chain costs and higher revenue because of fewer stock-outs and improved service levels (the proportion of orders delivered on time and in full). Additionally, the hybrid framework will enable companies to build resilience, giving better overview and as well as simplifying the complex supply chain. It will also increase customer retention.
The hallmark of a modern integrated supply chain is that it has specifically designed aspects that stay multi-faceted without compromising on efficiency. This makes it possible to take informed decisions when problems arise and find ways to establish and maintain an edge over the competition. An effective omnichannel strategy gives lifestyle brands a significant opportunity while they seek to engage with an ever-evolving customer base.
Bringing the transformation to life
The assumption is that modernising a major corporation’s supply chain costs tens of millions of dollars and requires a monumental three-to five-year transformation effort.
However, companies have witnessed higher revenue and customer retention with a faster, simpler and cheaper approach. It involves breaking down the walls between functional areas and creating an integrated supply chain that provides a competitive advantage. At the core, it is simplifying the complex supply chain.
A modern integrated supply chain is the foundation of the future of fashion & lifestyle brands. Stay future-ready. Stay resilient.