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7 Strategies to Accelerate the Digital Supply Chain

7 Strategies to Accelerate the Digital Supply Chain

August 14, 2017

With traditional fashion retailers and department stores struggling to stay open, it’s more important than ever for companies to innovate by using data to transform their supply chain model. However, it’s not enough to simply have access to data. Companies must “plan their reaction” to experience growth in the retail industry.

Leading fast-fashion retailers are masters of the “read and react” supply chain strategy. By monitoring data and “planning their reaction,” these retailers are able to accelerate the delivery of the products that are selling and reduce losses on the products that aren’t.

Here are seven strategies that all brands and retailers can follow so that they, too, can plan their reactions, shortening lead times and putting their business ahead of the competition:

  1. Sustain the product pipeline with agile development. Development should be guided by real-time sales data, to ensure you’re reacting to the latest sales trends. Fashion leaders aren’t afraid to over-develop styles; the key is to maintain a robust product development pipeline, realizing that many styles will never go into production.

  1. Position raw materials and manage commitments and drawdowns. Positioning raw materials with suppliers and factories is key to “faster fashion.” Using traditional spreadsheets to accurately manage the commitment and drawdown process is next to impossible. The process should function like a checking account. The commitment transaction is like a deposit of funds into the account. Purchase orders are like checks; they draw down the funds.

  1. Practice postponement and just-in-time manufacturing techniques. Just-in-time manufacturing means that companies wait until the last possible moment to make final decisions regarding the products that enter production. Guided by the latest sales information, silhouettes, colors and size breaks are adjusted to better match consumer demand.

  1. Ship direct-to-store from the factory. Most retailers receive their shipments in DCs, then allocate and reship units to each store location. However, companies can save significant time and money by sending store floor sets directly to retail stores, while replenishment stock ships to the DCs.

  1. Ship direct-to-consumer from the factory. Retailers and brands are eager to do this, but most lack the systems to achieve accuracy and scale. Orders are packed and labeled at the factory, then consolidated and shipped in bulk. Once the shipment clears customs in the destination country, a courier service deconsolidates the shipment and delivers each order directly to the consumer.

  1. Expedite shipments for high-demand products. Are best-sellers moving faster than expected? Then rush these products to the stores. This is only possible if there is clear visibility to the goods in transit.

  1. Transfer products between stores. Are products selling out at some store locations and headed toward markdowns in others? With access to sales information by store location, companies can quickly reallocate products to the locations that need them most.

By enabling the Digital Supply Chain, NGC Software’s Andromeda Cloud Platform can help brands and retailers use real-time information from all departments and solutions to implement these strategies and put products into consumers’ hands faster than ever. By planning their reaction, every company can become data-driven.

For more information on how NGC’s Andromeda Cloud Platform can help drive the Digital Supply Chain, or to request a demo, contact us here.