5 links in the fashion supply chain
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Apparel designers, fabric and finished garment manufacturers, carriers, distributors and direct sellers are part of the apparel supply chain. The supply chain in the fashion industry is divided into five main links:
Fashion designers select fabrics, trimmings, fits and finishes for garments and meticulously plan each silhouette. They often create versions of current trend styles or create unique runway pieces that define the new trends. In addition, designers are often responsible for the rest of the supply chain.
2. Textile Manufacturing
Each garment requires raw materials; Therefore, textile manufacturing is important. Textile manufacturers weave, dye and spin fabrics and additional materials for the end product.
3. Garment Manufacturing
Garment makers follow designers’ instructions to cut and sew fabric into wearable pieces.
The distribution phase is complicated because manufacturers produce raw materials and finished garments worldwide and then import them to key markets.
Manufacturers ship to stores or use a distribution center that serves many retailers. The key to a successful distribution chain is organization. A well-organized supply chain has thorough tracking that allows companies to manage and optimize transportation and keep track of inventory management.
5. Purchase by End Users
Finally, a buyer buys the item, which ends the supply chain. You can buy it in a physical store, shop online, or use the Buy Online, Collect in Store (BOPUS) option. This segment is dependent on logistics and transport management.
The main drivers of the fashion supply chain strategy are market predictions and forecasts. The manufacturers and designers create the textiles and garments in anticipation of future demand. The items are then “pushed” into the end consumer shops.
Technology and fashion supply chain
Fashion companies are automating the supply chain using technology for greater efficiency. First of all, AI technology helps companies process customer data to determine where to focus their energies to improve the supply chain process.
Businesses are also investing in cloud-based technology to improve communications. This technology facilitates the easy documentation of each step and makes the process more efficient.
To improve internal communication through real-time data exchange, warehouses and distribution centers even have wearable technologies such as smart glasses and smartwatches.
Technology is helping fashion brands in particular to be more transparent about their practices. The need for sustainability is increasing, so companies are finding ways to be more sustainable. This is important to reach Millennials and Gen Z customers who prioritize sustainable, ethical practices over brands.
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