Trade Policies, Sourcing and the Fashion Supply Chain

Trade Policies, Sourcing and the Fashion Supply Chain

February 5, 2013

Part 2 of a 2-part series.

As our last blog post explained, the key to taking advantage of sourcing shifts and changing trade policies is extending traditional PLM into the supply chain. It's only by doing this that companies can gain the agility they need. As an Apparel/Gartner study noted, these synchronized PLM and sourcing systems are "at the heart of a company's ability to achieve greater supply chain agility."

Systems that combine PLM with SCM and sourcing – which NGC calls Extended PLM –can enhance supply chain responsiveness in a number of ways. However the following characteristics are especially important in enabling more agile sourcing: [[more]]

Supply chain visibility. Extended PLM systems share production and logistics information among all members of the ex­tended global supply chain – including retailers, vendors, manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, agents and other stakeholders. As a result, these systems can provide real-time visibility that dramati­cally improves supply chain execution.

Improved supply chain collaboration. Instead of relying upon emails, faxes and other inefficient methods of communications, these combined PLM-SCM systems can provide a single system that centralizes communications and reporting across the entire supply chain. Workflow calendars, exceptions dashboards and collaboration tools ensure accountability and responsiveness throughout the supply chain, enabling retailers and brands to understand the real-time status of all products at all times and ultimately improve on-time delivery and compress production cycle time.

Vendor compliance and factory safety. In the aftermath of the tragic Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh, worker safety has emerged as a top supply chain issue, so companies must also consider factory safety as they evaluate their sourcing mix. Supply chain systems are invaluable here as well, by providing instant access to vendor profiles, with critical information such as vendor profiles that include each supplier's current compliance audits, quality and performance history, and factory safety records. Systems can even proactively notify retailers, brands and factories of upcoming audit and re-certification dates and assign a corrective action plan if factories don't pass the audit.

Armed with improved supply chain visibility, greater collaboration and insights into vendor compliance, companies can put themselves in position to take advantage of the constantly shifting trade landscape—and PLM/supply chain systems can help give them the agility they need.


2 "Forging PLM's Next Frontier – the Sourcing Connection," Apparel Magazine, Dec. 2010