Supply Chain Trends 2012: Recent Interview with Just-Style

Supply Chain Trends 2012: Recent Interview with Just-Style

May 1, 2012

Just-Style's Leonie Barrie recently interviewed NGC's Mark Burstein, president of sales, marketing and R&D, for Just-Style’s 2012 Management Briefing regarding SCM and the latest trends.

Just-Style: Experts say that firms would be wise to watch ways of maximizing investments, doing more with less, and focusing on true collaboration, accurate material forecasting and planning, and 'cloud' technologies. Faced with a significantly more challenging and competitive market, what else is likely to be topping brand and retail supply networks this year?.

Burstein: Social and regulatory compliance throughout the supply chain are increasingly important. CPSIA, Proposition 65, and SB 657 are just a few pieces of legislation that will continue to affect the industry in the upcoming months and years. More are on the way, too.

Just-Style: Where should apparel firms be focusing their software investments now if they want to remain competitive into the future? According to industry experts consulted by Just-Style, technology agendas should include tools that better integrate all data between supply chain partners and offer end-to-end visibility.

Burstein: Investments should be made in tools that can expedite communication and collaboration with all supply chain partners. Incorrect or outdated information will result in wrong decisions. This is the difference between profit and loss.

Just-Style: Faced with a raft of challenges across the apparel supply chain, how can software help tackle the key issues?

Burstein: Brands and retailers have realized that manual processes using emails and spreadsheets do not provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain. The information is already dated by the time it is analyzed. Web-based SCM applications such as NGC's e-SPS collect the information at the source (directly from the factory or mill) and allow the brands and retailers to make quick, accurate decisions. Conditional alerts and status updates enhance the reaction time.

Just-Style: After the turmoil of 2011, the biggest challenges facing the global apparel supply chain in 2012 continue to include rising costs, political and economic uncertainty in both consumer and sourcing markets, the changing role of China, increased competition at retail, pressure to integrate supply chains and the shift towards faster fashion cycles. Against such a background, how can companies quickly adapt to changing conditions and pressures?

Burstein: Agility and flexibility within the global supply chain are the biggest challenges in 2012. Buyers must have visibility to the status of raw materials, WIP inventory, and inbound shipments. NGC's clients are positioning raw materials prior to issuing production orders, adjusting open purchases based upon retail sales, and expediting inbound shipments based upon their customers' needs. In other words, demand is driving supply. The result is a very lean supply chain inventory that allows brands and retailers to react quickly to consumer trends.