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Prevailing Through the Trade War: An Optimized Supply Chain is Key

New tariffs and a U.S.-China trade war have flooded headlines ever since a new tax was imposed on solar panels and washing machines, key Chinese exports, at the beginning of the year. In early April, China began to fight back and proposed tariffs against the U.S. in response to the threat of additional tariffs on $100 billion in Chinese goods. Throughout the following months, threats continued to run high, ultimately leading the U.S. to implement duties of 25% on $34 billion of Chinese goods. China retaliated immediately, imposing an equivalent 25% tariff on 545 U.S. products on July 6, which is the move many people regarded as a signal of the trade war’s beginning.

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Time Equals Risk in Today’s Fashion Supply Chain

One of the Rolling Stones’ early hits famously begins, “time is on my side.” Time, however, is most definitely not on the side of retailers and fashion brands today. In fact, time is arguably the biggest risk factor in the supply chain. Today’s retail and fashion winners include Zara, Xcel Brands, TechStyle and others that race the clock to get the best products to customers faster than anyone else. The more time that passes, the greater the risk that fashion trends, consumer demands and other variables will change.

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“See Now, Buy Now” Consumer Mentality Calls for a Faster Supply Chain

As technology continues to advance, the industry seems to be increasingly governed by instantaneous fulfillment. Quick processes like same-day delivery and on-demand services normalize a fast-paced culture, and the pressure to conform especially affects the fashion industry, where trends are constantly changing. While popular brands such as Forever 21, H&M and Zara are known for their “fast fashion” approach, producing replicas of fresh-off-the-runway items for sale in the time span of just a few weeks, shortening the apparel calendar is far from a quick-fix.

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Proper Onboarding Is Crucial as Impending U.S-China Trade War Looms

U.S. companies that source materials and labor from China may have to make some changes to their sourcing strategies now that the U.S. added 25% tariffs on more than $30 billion of Chinese shipments earlier this month. The tariff spike doesn’t seem to be slowing down either; the Trump administration threatened up to $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, scheduled to take effect after Aug. 30, pending a consultation process.

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Sourcing Journal Podcast: Episode 1, Speed Bump

In the first episode of Sourcing Journal’s new podcast, NGC’s Mark Burstein, Robert D’Loren, chairman and CEO of NGC customer Xcel Brands, and John Thorbeck, CEO and founder of Chainge Capital, discuss how retailers can successfully improve speed to market without sacrificing quality by executing a total transformation of the supply chain.

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Shift to the Digital Supply Chain to Transform Design Productivity and Reduce Lead Times

Every year, WhichPLM publishes a buyer’s guide, highlighting PLM industry trends and predictions. It comes as no surprise to NGC, that this year, WhichPLM says that the approach to replacing your PLM has shifted. The guide compares the process to “replacing the operating system of a computer that everyone in the office shares: it requires an understanding of not just the capabilities of the different software environments themselves, but the needs of a variety of different stakeholders. Most importantly, it requires an acknowledgement that, to get the most out of a new environment, you need to fully understand the limitations of your existing one from every possible angle, and you need to identify how you and your colleagues visualize things changing in the future.”

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PLM and the Digital Supply Chain

Because siloed information contains so many risks, companies are moving quickly to eliminate disconnected data siloes. The digital supply chain focuses on breaking down these barriers with a single cloud-based portal that centralizes and shares all the information that originates in legacy PLM, ERP, logistics and other systems. The digital supply chain unites all the disparate processes and information of fashion design and production into a real-time, connected digital enterprise system, and the advantages are significant.

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Digital Supply Chains: The Important Thing is to Start Now

The digital supply chain is one of the hottest topics in our industry right now, and with good reason. Companies that have digitized their design and manufacturing processes are winning the race in speed to market, increased sales and consumer satisfaction.

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The Key Benefits of Digitizing Vendor Compliance

In today’s socially connected world, a whole host of issues at the factory level can turn into a full-blown crisis once customers and other stakeholders take to social media. And if the problem is serious enough, it could damage your business—even if you’re not directly responsible. However, if you properly manage your vendors from day one, issues can often be avoided, or at the very least mitigated, before they turn into nightmare scenarios.

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The Key Benefits of Digitizing Quality Control

If not properly managed, quality is an area where your business can fail due to factors that are out of your control. Fortunately, quality control is an area that is quantifiable and closely tied to financial performance, and retailers and brand owners can easily and quickly see ROI.

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