In tomorrow’s fashion ecosystem, flexibility will determine which players succeed or fold. The answer to achieving market responsiveness lies in leveraging on-demand supply chain management.
Although fashion has always been a fast-moving industry, demand is more fragmented than ever and consumers increasingly discerning about product quality and choice. With style trends emerging at the rate that fashion influencers post pictures and video to social media, the made-to-stock manufacturing model can barely keep up with the whims of fickle, connected consumers.
This is because the conventional forecast-driven supply chain is inadaquate in the face of today’s market-sensitive demand. Trends now evolve at the speed consumer opinion is shared online. The time it takes to source materials, manufacture clothing and accessories and speed them to market is invariably longer than consumers are prepared to wait.
The answer to this never-ending game of catch-up is an agile supply chain strategy. With the on-demand production model, seamless, virtual information-sharing makes it possible to quickly mobilize an ecosystem of suppliers across any border or boundary. This is true no matter what the production mode: made-to-order clothing, customized orders and made-to-measure items.
With the conventional made-to-stock supply chain model, margins can be achieved through economies of scale and mass-production. With an on-demand production model, however, it’s possible to manage a greater range of unknowns farther upstream to:
- Reduce inventories
- Generate positive cash flow
- Foster customer intimacy
- Raise brand image