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The Capabilities and Benefits of a Digital Supply Chain Platform

Fast fashion, social media, one-day shipping and e-commerce have trained consumers to expect products when, where and how they want. On top of increasing expectations, younger consumers are driving overall trends towards “newness,” with one in seven considering it a fashion faux-pas to be photographed in the same outfit twice, according to McKinsey’s “The State of Fashion 2019.” The report additionally found that shoppers today buy 60% more clothing than they did 15 years ago, but consumers keep that clothing for only half as long as they used to.

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Digital Supply Chain Platforms: Separating the Winners from the Losers

Today’s fashion and retail supply chains are extraordinarily complex. In the ultra-competitive world of fashion retail, companies must manage all the details of product design, sourcing, compliance, product testing and supply chain execution for thousands of SKUs simultaneously. They must also react to constantly changing demand signals, fashion trends, weather patterns, sales data, production delays and many other variables—and they must do it faster and faster.

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Shifting Back-to-School Landscape Encourages Retailers to Act Quickly

Back-to-school season is in full swing and initial sales results have been rolling in. Unfortunately, this year’s back-to-school investment is expected to be down, with shoppers primarily being motivated by discounts. These shifts may be related to the fact that consumers are shopping at new places, sometimes as a result of closures to their favorite stores, such as Children’s Place. Providing another challenge, the trade war fallout and latest round of apparel tariffs are also leaving many retailers anxious over the shopping season.

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Owning the Digital Enterprise: How PLM Has Evolved And What’s To Come

Managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal, comes with plenty of moving parts. While Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has long since served an important role for clothing manufacturers, it has become even more critical in the past five years.

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Overcoming Trade Uncertainties – Why A Digital Strategy is Key

With President Trump opting to add tariffs to the remaining $300 billion worth of imports from China, slated to take effect on Sept. 1, the apparel and footwear industries are bracing themselves for potentially chilling consequences. The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has left fashion companies with a choice to make: continue to source in China amidst uncertainties and additional rounds of fresh tariffs or reduce China’s portion of supplied products and increase sourcing from other countries. However, transferring sourcing out of China is easier said than done.

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The Road to Transparency: Vendor Onboarding

McKinsey and Company’s State of Fashion Report 2019 recognizes radical transparency as one of the top trends that will shape the fashion industry for the year ahead. As a result, presenting a transparent supply chain has become a mark of success for apparel companies. In our last two blogs, we touched on the need for product compliance and vendor compliance. The final component in bringing transparency to a supply chain is the vendor onboarding process.

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The Road to Transparency: Vendor Compliance

On July 6, 2018, the U.S. implemented its first round of China-specific tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods. Throughout the past year, trade wars sparked by the U.S. increasing tariffs on goods imported from China have thrown the fashion industry into a state of flux. The longtime sourcing hub for brands and retailers—China—is becoming less dominant due to tariffs and the ongoing trade war. Now, 83% of fashion companies say they plan to reduce their sourcing from the country, up from 67% in 2018.

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The Road to Transparency: Product Compliance

Transparency is one of the top consumer demands in today’s fashion industry. Retailers and brands putting the key tenets of transparency into practice are winning the hearts, minds and even the wallets of consumers. Take H&M, for example. The fast-fashion brand announced this year that it launched an initiative to share product information across all garments on its website. It publishes key supplier factory information to prevent labor abuses or dangerous working conditions. Meanwhile, apparel companies across the board are setting goals to eliminate carbon emissions, reduce landfill waste and eradicate single-use plastics within the next decade.

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Break Through the Corporate Silos with Digitization

The fun of shopping is that every store has a unique mix of styles and products to choose from. Each brand and retailer has its own preferences in terms of which items to sell and which target market to aim for. But if there’s one thing common to fashion retailers across the board, it’s the mass amount of information needed to run a fast-paced supply chain. Without an end to end platform that connects everyone in the value chain, companies are stuck relying on spreadsheets, fax and email. One leading footwear company, for example, previously sent hundreds of faxes every night to an agent in Hong Kong—from tech packs to sampling and costing information to sourcing logistics.

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Just In Time: Support Postponement Techniques With a Digital Platform

“The early bird gets the worm,” or so the saying goes. However, this isn’t the case for retailers when it comes to making decisions in the supply chain. The concept of just-in-time manufacturing encourages retailers and brands to wait until the last possible moment to make key decisions about production, based on the most recent sales results. If a particular item isn’t selling, companies should cut their losses and stop producing it; if it’s selling quickly, the key is to accelerate replenishment and take advantage of the trend. As retailers focus increasingly on just-in-time, sales-driven decision making, they should be equipped with the proper tools to make the best decisions.

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