Just In Time: Support Postponement Techniques With a Digital Platform

Just In Time: Support Postponement Techniques With a Digital Platform

June 14, 2019

“The early bird gets the worm,” or so the saying goes. However, this isn’t the case for retailers when it comes to making decisions in the supply chain. The concept of just-in-time manufacturing encourages retailers and brands to wait until the last possible moment to make key decisions about production, based on the most recent sales results. If a particular item isn’t selling, companies should cut their losses and stop producing it; if it’s selling quickly, the key is to accelerate replenishment and take advantage of the trend. As retailers focus increasingly on just-in-time, sales-driven decision making, they should be equipped with the proper tools to make the best decisions. 

Catching Up to Other Industries

When it comes to just-in-time techniques, the fashion industry is well behind the curve. Other industries such as automotive and electronics were the first to embrace just-in-time manufacturing techniques that allowed them to react more quickly to changes in supply and demand. The fashion industry, however, has been slow to adopt. “The industry is a creature of habit and refuses to change with the times,” Retail Systems Research’s Paula Rosenblum points out in her blog post

The widespread adoption of the internet and acceptance of cloud technology now allows real-time communication throughout the supply chain. This puts just-in-time decision making within reach of any retailer and enables the adoption of “postponement” techniques: delaying critical decisions until the last possible minute in order to align design and production with sales trends.   

Pleasing the “On Demand” Generation  

Between the evolution of technology, the changing customer demographic and the increased buying power of millennials and Gen Z, retailers and brands face more pressure than ever to embrace just-in-time manufacturing. Traditional retailers who fail to address the shift in buying habits are being left behind in favor of more innovative brands, both in fast-fashion and luxury. 

With an increase in Gen Z shoppers expecting to get the products they want when they want them, the ability to make decisions “just in time” can mean the difference between retail winners and laggards. 

Relying on Digital to Make Quick Decisions

NGC’s Andromeda Cloud Platform® supports just-in-time manufacturing and postponement techniques along with reserved capacity, direct-to-store shipments and material commitments with drawdowns. What’s more, critical path management, exception alerts and user collaboration streamline all processes to enable lead time optimization and allow retailers to quickly deliver the exact product their customers want -- when and how they want it.  

With a digital solution in place, retailers can be ready to make quick decisions regarding their production pipeline. Instead of siloed and disparate information, Andromeda gives transparent access to up-to-date information, allowing retailers to produce more units of a best-selling style rather than continuing to produce a product that isn’t selling. 

For more information about the platform, read about Andromeda’s supply chain management functions or request a demo to see it in action.