The new generation of the fashion supply chain has begun to squeeze the data, either to generate internal metrics or recharge ties with the rest of the actors.
The fashion industry, a sector that has barely evolved in miles of years, now faces a profound transformation. The new consumption habits, the new socio-economic and geopolitical scenario, the demographic changes and the irruption of technology in all daily tasks also have an impact on the value chain of the sector. Digitization and sustainability open a new era in all its links, which implies the incorporation of new systems in the factories. It is the largest fair of textile machinery, the keys of the fashion industry of the future in its next edition, which will be held from 20 to 26 June at Fira de Barcelona. There will be 1,600 exhibitors and it is expected to exceed 125,000 visitors.
The fashion industry is entering into a new era. The digitization also enters the supply chain of the sector to get the most juice from the data. This opens the door to new metrics, the simplification of processes and greater coordination with the rest of the actors. The results of the distribution such as personalization and traceability are closer to becoming the new fashion business, with the incorporation of a new generation of technology applied to industrial processes.
Digitization is the disruptive element in all economic sectors, also in fashion. So far, in this sector, digitalization has created new disruptive models in commerce supported by the uprise of the Internet as a new distribution channel. The new challenge is to take it towards the supply chain. The purpose is to accelerate personalization, traceability and transparency.
Personalization is the first technological challenge. Supporting technology, companies will respond to this return to the origins. Access to data and its management allow the relationship between the consumer, the brand and the suppliers to be much narrower and more individualized. The idea is for brands to adapt to their products for users who are looking for more and more specific information.
Digitizing the supply chain implies accelerating personalization, traceability and transparency
The Inditex model does not change, but it does evolve. The technology ensures macro to become micro without repercussion in speed or cost. The digitization of the value chain also favors a neorelocation, although not structural, but of services.
Despite the advance of technology, it is still cheaper to manufacture in Bangladesh than Europe, but a part of the production will return to the Old Continent to respond to the new demands of the market. In the vicinity, a form of semi-automatized factories of greater rotation is produced.
The second major digital challenge is traceability: the union of all points of an ultra-fragmented value chain. Traceability involves migrating to more flat and digitized chains that allow distribution groups to have control. We have already entered into a new product phase that requires each of the links in the chain and give value to the suppliers, manufacturers, traders, purchasing agents and logistics.
The data will not only help to make internal measurements, but also to unite the different actors of the value chain
One of the technological pillars of this new model is the application of programming interfaces, systems connectors that exchange the information of a company with its suppliers. For the moment, only the giants of distribution have begun to incorporate them into their chain, but as it extends, this technology will be reduced.
The blockchain has also started to look for traceability. The luxury conglomerate LVMH has begun to work in this direction to guarantee the authenticity of the articles of its brands. H&M, on the other hand, has also equipped itself with this tool to inform consumers about the life cycle of each of their garments.
However, in the operational field, both technologies can serve to accentuate the flexibility and speed of their supply chains. Applying data analytics and artificial intelligence to the management of purchases and operations, distribution groups can make real-time decisions about the supply and weigh the cycles of the garments on data rather than on intuition.