Industry 4.0, or smart manufacturing, is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.
Bringing a tidal wave of innovations to the fashion marketplace, this trend is revolutionizing the way companies work and respond to evolving consumer needs. New technology such as IoT, augmented reality, cloud computing and apparel industry plm software have made it possible for companies to monitor and automate the entire production process with full supply chain transparency.
Industry 4.0 has become a hot discussion topic as millennial consumers, the largest and highest paid generation in history, are spending and coming up with new and difficult demands, thanks to their “see-now-buy-now” mentality and unique way of consuming fashion. While some companies readily embrace this new era, others fear the amount of effort needed for this transition. But fashion companies should not shun smart manufacturing as it brings more benefits than drawbacks, and presents many growth opportunities for them.
One of the main advantages of smart manufacturing technology is that it helps companies achieve a 360° view of the entire design-to-production process. This gives them the flexibility and agility to experiment with a wider range of business models, improve operational efficiency and produce in larger volumes.
Here are the four key growth areas brought about by smart manufacturing:
- Mass Production
Streamlining the production process will result in big efficiency gains for companies in terms of costs and time. With more connected machinery, companies are equipped with full process visibility that will allow them to identify and clear roadblocks and overlapping tasks.
- Mass Personalization
Hesitant to lose their sense of individuality to market forces, millennial consumers are demanding more personalized products. Thanks to automated manufacturing, fashion companies can now quickly adjust their production lines and configurations according to specific customer demands, while producing in big volumes.
- Agile Production
By having the visibility on the entire design-to-production process, manufacturers are able to manage multiple product lines. They can now manage smaller-volume series in addition to their permanent collections. Companies can then offer a wider style variety to their consumers in the form of capsule collections and limited editions without compromising on quality.
- Made To Measure
Companies can adjust their supply chain mechanisms to meet individual needs. IoT connects store managers with designers and product developers, which allows supply chain actors to communicate in real time. Hence, orders and measurements can be processed quickly, and companies can deliver these items within shorter time frames while optimizing costs.