Marketing Strategy + Branding

Sample Blog Post - Technical

Transforming with Digital Systems

A common misconception is that innovation solves new problems. However, true innovation identifies a new solution to an existing inefficiency. Where is time wasted? How can we get things done quicker? Where can manual work be replaced with technology? Nearly every business, across every industry is aiming to run smoother, smarter and leaner. Are you?

One look at the notoriously tech- resistant fashion industry, and it’s clear that the industry is ripe for innovation. Excel is still rampant, post-it notes remain perilously attached to product samples, and interns hunting down garments in warehouses are still commonplace. There is an easier way. The migration to an agile system and process is a critical ‘must’ for doing business and keeping up with competitors. Nearly all business is now global business, and while we can speculate on where the industry is heading, there is one truth that will remain: business is only going to become more complex. How many steps does your business have from design to showroom? How many collaborators within each design phase are coordinating via email? Is time wasted through tedious data entry? Without a doubt, there are inefficiencies that commandeer precious time that can be better spent working on building the business.

Pushing the envelope isn’t about a new feature or packaged solution, it’s about holistically evaluating how to improve. Designing a vision for upgrading back end systems can be costly, time intensive and challenging. It’s estimated that organizations will spend 20% of their budget upgrading, and it isn’t a decision that should be taken lightheartedly. And yet, the ROI of implementing tech-enabled methodologies can be staggering. Embracing a digital supply chain is the competition killer in 2015. Peter Sondergaard, global head of research at Gartner, stated earlier this year that

“These [digital operations] and other technologies, such as smart machines which will automate decision making, are the new technology building blocks of the future digital business. Falling behind in these developing technologies could have serious implications for enterprises”.

A mass-market brand in the UK established sample tracking throughout their supply chain and consequently saved over thirty-five hours a week. The four hours they would spend preparing and transferring a sample was whittled down to 15 minutes. What about that intern hunting down garments in a warehouse? A one-hour search was reduced to five minutes, a 91% increase in speed. Now imagine if the entire supply chain was on board? Unleashing your full potential with a nimble digital ecosystem is a proven competitive advantage and additionally an immense savings in time and money.

One of the most glorious benefits to digital systems is transparency. Planning which samples are on reserve, where they are and when they will arrive is a huge step for fashion, especially on a global scale. By creating a clearer picture of your product inventory, decision-making is automated and communication is simplified. Additionally, increased transparency leads to increased accountability. Missing samples become a thing of the past, and the revenue generated from those samples is right where you can see it. Maintaining an accurate view of samples around the world can also ensure that editorial is in line with selling cycles and production is in sync with design and brand.

Some of the world’s largest brands and retailers have transformed their companies into digitally efficient businesses. Accenture states that every high performing supply chain is a digital supply chain. The advantages of better financial performance are directly correlated with an intelligent and digitally scalable supply network. And while the transformation is made possible by the broad agile backbone set in place, the key to success will be to consistently support innovation. Innovation isn’t veiled; the inefficiencies have been there all along. The smart businesses that capitalize on their real-time supply & demand levels, while iterating on lean, digital systems will survive the impending digital revolution. Are you ready to face the competition?

Narrowing the gap between production and inventory supply can provide critical insight and reduce overproduction, identify opportunities in mid-season, and lastly, save money and time. In turn, more time can be allocated to improving the customer experience and boosting sales.