April 3, 2023
In recent years, almost all of the fashion and footwear brands I have spoken to have been re-evaluating their global sourcing strategy to determine if and when they should make significant changes. With rising production and freight costs, order delays, and the increasing risks associated with doing business in the Far East, many companies are now questioning whether it makes sense to continue manufacturing there or whether a rebalancing of production is the right thing to do. Indeed, a recent article by the Financial Times mentions several leading western brands who were even questioning their reliance on mass production in China.
Fashion brands are now taking sustainability seriously and are employing dedicated teams to ensure that their products and practices are environmentally and socially responsible. These teams work to develop new sustainable supply chains, reduce waste and carbon emissions, and ensure that their suppliers and manufacturers adhere to ethical and fair labour standards. Transparency is key, with many brands sharing information about their supply chains and production processes with consumers.
At the same time, most supply chain and logistics departments are totally overwhelmed ensuring the timely receipt of quality goods from suppliers to satisfy demand across their multiple and complex sales channels. Constant pressure from consumers for new products and fresh assortments has practically pushed us to supporting almost twelve seasons per year! Thus, supply chain agility has become critical to a brand’s on-going success.
Despite significant investment in information technology over the past two decades across the fashion industry, data regarding purchase orders, inbound/outbound shipments, and supplier invoices and payments is distributed across multiple systems and separate data silos, including spreadsheets, emails, and PDF documents.
Faced by these challenges, how does a fashion brand carry out detailed cost and risk analysis and compare possible alternative supply chain scenarios with such inconsistent and fragmented data? Without a complete and detailed picture of the end-to-end supply chain and its past performance, how can supply chain teams determine where optimisation needs to be made?
Without this insight, organizations run the risk of making bad decisions based on half-truths, high-level summary indicators, and gut feel. As global competition is only getting fiercer and as pressure on profit margins increasing, such imperfect decision making can lead to massive lost opportunities and possible disaster for the brand.
That's where Infor Nexus™ offers an alternative approach. Infor Nexus is a cloud-based platform that provides a single version of the truth for all supply chain data. By integrating data from across the supply chain, Infor Nexus enables fashion brands to make informed decisions based on actual supplier and partner transparency and actual performance. Fashion brands can track the progress of their products as they move through the supply chain, from raw materials to finished products. This visibility into the supply chain allows brands to analyse risk, identify bottlenecks, optimize production processes, and make better decisions about where to source materials and manufacture products.
Infor Nexus also enables agile collaboration between all parties involved in the supply chain, which helps to ensure that everyone is working quickly towards the same goal. Providing a single version of the truth, Infor Nexus ensures that any issues that arise are identified immediately and can be addressed quickly.
With Infor Nexus real-time visibility, fashion brands can now get a detailed look into their supply chains and make informed decisions. They can compare costs, lead times, and other factors across different regions and suppliers, allowing them to identify the most cost-effective and reliable options.
In conclusion, supply chains should remain dynamic and be able to adapt to changes in focus and scrutiny as well as changes in demand. Fashion brands should constantly be thinking ahead to ensure their supply chains are optimised for now and whatever the future brings. With Infor Nexus, fashion brands can make informed decisions about their supply chain and production processes, ensuring that they are optimizing their operations and minimizing risks.
Vincent Barnes, Infor Nexus VP of Strategy EMEA
Vincent Barnes has spent over 2 decades working with leading global fashion and retail brands optimizing their supply chain operations to support their ever-demanding digital sales channels.