Sourcing Journal Podcast: Episode 1, Speed BumpJuly 11, 2018
Speed is the fashion industry’s chief preoccupation lately. But how to deliver—let alone capitalize on it—is still elusive for most. 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.
Fast Fashion vs. Speed to Market
In this episode, titled “Speed Bump,” the panelists talk about the distinction between “fast fashion” and “speed to market.” Mark explains that in the product lifecycle there are over 150 different tasks and activities from the product concept to getting the product to retail, with many roles and people involved. Every company wants to perform these steps faster, which is where speed to market comes into play. However, when a company decides to skip steps and use a shortcut approach to faster delivery while eliminating some of these processes, product quality always suffers. That’s why fast fashion is often seen as cheap, throwaway clothing that the consumer wears once or twice and then disposes.
In the pursuit of speed, some companies who don’t truly understand the culture, strategy or economics behind it, are in the process of falling into this fast fashion trap. These companies cheapen the product or rush to get the product to market, which can end up hurting the brand more than helping it. However, achieving speed to market doesn’t have to fall into this trap. For a company to succeed, there’s a right process to get the right quality product while still reducing lead time.
The Quest for Speed to Market
Mark shares that while speed to market is always the right strategy, there’s certain activities within the process that can move it along faster without sacrificing quality. For example, when weighing between the option of shipping by air instead of boat, the shipping cost may increase, but if it gets into the hands of the consumer much faster, then the benefits outweigh the cost.
When you develop a digital supply chain platform, that’s where all of the base information related to the product exists, and if manual processes continue to be used without the mission-critical data, it breaks down the chain and slows everything down. By changing the way companies operate and empowering employees, improving speed to market becomes a reality.
“The goal is to get everyone in the supply chain digitally connected,” Mark explained in the podcast. “Once they have access to the mission critical data they need to do their job, the next step is to enable every participant to focus on a single goal: quickly provide a quality product to the consumer who wants to buy it. Once this transformation occurs, tremendous success certainly follows.”
How NGC Andromeda Can Help Increase Speed to Market
NGC’s Andromeda Cloud Platform is leading the way for apparel, fashion and footwear brands and retailers to optimize supply chain lead times for fast in-season flow. By enabling the digital supply chain and involving more tech at different levels of design and production, brands and retailers can improve speed to market and responsiveness for today’s demand-driven supply chain.