Looking Ahead: Key Sourcing Strategies for 2019

Looking Ahead: Key Sourcing Strategies for 2019

February 1, 2019

Coming off the heels of a monumental year, supply chains have big shoes to fill in 2019. As apparel retailers and brands prepare for a year of new tariffs, evolving customer demands and more competition than ever, they should keep in mind the key strategies that will help them streamline their processes and reach their goals. Based on developments throughout the past year, we’re predicting four sourcing strategies that will unlock success for apparel companies in 2019.

Less is more  

If 2018 taught us anything about the supply chain, it’s that time is most definitely not on the side of retailers and fashion brands today. The more time spent getting products to market, the more designers and buyers risk missing opportunities to capitalize on customer interests. As 2019 kicks off, shoppers are placed in front of an expanding number of options. Trending items and seasonal styles constantly throw consumers into a state of flux about the products they want, meaning quick reaction times for retailers are becoming even more critical. Today’s retail winners, including companies like Zara, Xcel Brands and TechStyle, exemplify the concept of fast fashion and reap the rewards as they race the clock to get the best products to customers faster than anyone else. 

Balancing supply and demand starts with synchronization 

Constantly changing demand signals call for companies to continually rebalance supply and demand, all while acting with speed and agility. Rather than trying to do the impossible and live up to this standard with a traditional analog supply chain, synchronizing every aspect of supply chain optimization, planning and execution is the key to delivering on customers’ expectations. Disconnected, siloed and slow-moving, outdated supply chains won’t cut it in 2019. Instead, prioritizing synchronization can help companies easily adjust to changing demand signals as previously disparate disciplines, departments, vendors and technologies are brought into a single ecosystem that ties everyone and everything together. 

Visibility isn’t optional  

In 2018, supply chain visibility proved it had room for improvement. One study conducted by Deloitte found 65% of procurement leaders had limited to no visibility beyond tier-one suppliers. Companies such as Everlane are on a mission to change that narrative, placing transparency at the front and center of their business goals. More and more companies are catching on and realizing supply chain visibility is no longer a choice, but a must-have capability. In fact, 72% of retailers are working on digitizing their supply chains in order to achieve real-time visibility, according to a Retail Vision Study report by Zebra Technologies. 

Sourcing destinations are changing

Sourcing is an integral part of the supply chain, but the locations in which products are sourced from is changing, especially as the evolving trade war between China and the U.S. poses unforeseen tariffs. Beginning last summer, an impending trade war prompted supply chain managers to look for alternative suppliers in countries where the new U.S. import tariffs do not apply. Finding new sources, while maintaining proper evaluation of vendors and subsequent onboarding tactics, will continue to be a priority in 2019.

Digitize the supply chain with NGC 

NGC’s Andromeda Cloud Platform powers the digital supply chain for retailers and brands. Andromeda brings together all departments – Merchandising, Product Development, Sourcing, Compliance, Purchasing, Production, Quality, Logistics, Marketing and Sales – in a single cloud-based solution that connects vendors, suppliers and other providers. While the new year comes with an increased amount of pressure for companies to live up to customers’ expectations, they can rest assured that ditching management via spreadsheets and utilizing a digital solution to organize information is the setup for success. 

To learn more about how NGC Software can help your fashion and apparel business in 2019, request a demo today