Learning from the Fast Fashion Groundbreakers – Amber Road

Q: Speed-to-market has become the top market pressure for retailers. What can other industries or CPG manufacturers learn from "fast fashion" leaders like H&M, Uniqlo, and Zara who are able to go from concept to shelf in weeks?

A: Attaining raw speed requires an overhaul of your supply chain. To truly match the clock speed of modern fashion, companies must achieve supply chain transformation through flexibility, control tower management, and data analytics.

To stay ahead of the pack, decision makers need to be sure they are implementing advanced technology solutions with the following attributes:

  • A very robust and comprehensive data model, able to model the global supply chain for all functions as well as all countries.
  • In addition to the digitization of the global supply chain data, digitization of the export and import regulations for all countries. This allows for the automated processing of those regulations.
  • A rich set of capabilities to allow for the sharing (collaboration) of information as well as automation functions to perform the tasks required without human intervention.

Q: Speed is only one factor. What other features of good supply chain execution are critical?

A: The example set by these forerunners of rapid product development demonstrates the importance of more than just lightning fast lead times. Their entire business models are oriented around agility: always looking for new trends and creating shortened design-to-build cycles that can respond rapidly.

However, when it comes to being agile, normal efficiency practices don’t cut it. There’s a limit to how quickly even the most organized supply chain can prototype, manufacture, and ship.

This level of coordination requires visibility and digitized, connected systems able to orchestrate and manage inventory and get it to customers quickly. Combining these requirements with business insight generated from structured and unstructured data and predictive analytics enables the manufacturer to know where the product is at any given point in the lifecycle—and deliver through whichever channel where consumer demand is greatest.

This is "supply chain digitization"—the ability to transform the way we do business by moving data over the web instead of on paper.

By transforming the global supply chain via digitization and leveraging collaboration, automation, and analytics, a robust and comprehensive GTM platform creates value by not only providing speed-to-market to stay on pace with the fast fashion manufacturers, but also improves margins, agility, and risk management.

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