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Fashion’s need for speed

Focusing on the Right Factors to Reduce Lead Times.

need for speed

How fashion companies improve their speed to market 

In this consumer-driven world, speed is no longer just a plus, but the main factor that distinguishes the winners from the rest. Waiting for one more week might lead to missed trend opportunities. In short, speed is value and profitability.

 

 What are the right factors to reduce lead times? 

Fashion companies seeking to improve their speed to market without experiencing trade-offs are focusing on production agility to help close the gap between production and the end consumer.  

 
Read this guide and discover: 

  • The new definition of speed to market. Speed=Agility=Profitability 
  • The different kinds of business models that exist in today’s business context 
  • What we can learn from the most successful/fastest players 
  • The right factors to focus on to improve time to market 

 

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Speed = Profitability

Luxury brands aren't the only companies struggling to keep up with big-name retailers such as Gap and J.Crew. With the rise of fast fashion, Gap's revenue is stagnating at $16 billion, while Zara has earned twice as much since 2006.2 It has become apparent, in this consumer-driven world, that speed is no longer just a plus, but the main factor that distinguishes the winners from the rest. Waiting for one more week might lead to missed trend opportunities. In short, speed is value3. Speed is profitability. Studies have shown that the slightest improvement in speed can translate into bigger profit margins4. According to a 2018 study5 on the top 20 performers carried out by McKinsey & Company and Women’s Wear Daily, these fashion companies have made speed to market a main focus, delivering items to market in less than six-eight weeks6. 

Speed = Agility

Most fashion companies have mainly focused on cutting down the time spent on design and product  development processes, but this has killed creativity and quality as a result, to which Raf Simons and  Alber Elbaz have alluded. The 2017 State of Fashion7 report by Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company states that due to the pressure of speed, fashion has become one big revolving door, with creative directors going in and out, for big brands such as Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Brioni. Alleged plagiarism has been on a rise since then. What most companies tend to overlook, however, is that it’s not just about shortening the design-to-production process, it’s about using the latest innovations to gain supply-chain flexibility and respond to changes quickly. Agility gives you speed. Hence, flexibility is value.