Just-Style recently released their latest Management Briefing on the role of software in the apparel industry in the coming year. In this briefing series, Just-Style talked with a range of leading software companies to get a sense of the issues they see in the market.
According to Leonie Barrie’s summary, social and environmental compliance are the main issues facing today’s apparel supply chains. The continued shift towards faster and faster fashion cycles, along with pressure on retailers to adapt to an omni-channel experience, are also throwing up challenges when it comes to flexibility in global sourcing.
Below is an excerpt of Core Solutions view on the biggest challenges:
Just-Style: After the turmoil of recent years, what do you see as the biggest challenges facing the global apparel supply chain in 2013, and why?
Core Solutions: The challenges are not that different from previous years; what is different is an economic reality where resolving these issues is an imperative for profitability and survival. As we all know, in the past few years a lot of apparel retailers and brands have fallen by the wayside, either failing or being absorbed into other retail groups.
That said, the top three ongoing challenges we see in the market and hear from our apparel customers are:
- The need to respond faster to consumer trends,
- A strong push for improved collaboration and transparency,
- A greater focus on CSR issues and quality in the wake of high-profile incidents such as the recent fires in Bangladesh.
Key players in the apparel industry realise that the answer to these challenges is improving efficiency and business processes and taking a long-term view of the industry. This includes enabling the supply chain to add more value.
We are still surprised that many apparel retailers have not evolved their definition of the supply chain but still think of it as logistics – shipping, consolidation, warehouse operations. While optimising the logistics side of their supply chains is important, they need to recognise that the greatest opportunity for efficiency improvement and consumer responsiveness lies within their broader supply chain processes. At the same time apparel firms are realising that social and environmental compliance make sound business sense in the long-term.
Read the full briefing series on Just-Style (subscription required).