Problem-Solving With Lean Fashion

Problem-Solving With Lean Fashion

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The clothing retail business is expanding all the time, and with the arrival of e-commerce, the competitive environment has grown even more intense. Clothing merchants are now streamlining their operations by synchronizing the backend supply chain, improving product quality, and increasing customer happiness. As a result, brick-and-mortar clothing retailers must find a means to adapt to the changing times of e-commerce and the new way of fashion management.

Understanding The Lean Retailing/ Manufacturing Concept

The revolutionary concept of lean manufacturing, which emphasizes addressing inventory bottlenecks, has been used to develop a tool that works effectively in the clothing retail business and fashion management.

Lean retailing ensures that customers get what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and in what amount they want it. This concept was quickly adopted by brands such as Walmart, The Gap, Zara, and various other giant retailers. These clothing firms utilize technology such as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and barcodes to identify proper inventory movement and manage products inside the shop according to client needs.

Lean retailing is a concept that focuses on finding and reducing waste in order to streamline and smooth operations. Waste is quantified in terms of time and capital consumption rather than actual items in lean retailing. Overproduction, poor transportation, redundant actions, inadequate processing, rejections and faults, time spent waiting, and overstocking are some of the wastes that need to be addressed in a typical clothes retail setup.

Customers' ever-changing demands and preferences, the availability of a wide range of alternatives, and competitive pricing are all factors that every clothing store should address. Fashion management styles change quickly in the apparel industry, so manufacturers must keep up with the latest trends. As a result of these issues, retail companies require a system such as lean retailing to simplify all of their operations and ensure an undisrupted workflow at all times.

Basic Principles of Lean Retailing

Basic Principles of Lean Retailing

The book Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones describes the principles of Lean Retailing as follows:

  • If clients want things to arrive on time, remove roadblocks such as unnecessary handling and optimize processes hampered by poor workflow design.
  • Make a plot of the value stream. Analyze and map all the stages involved in getting items from the warehouse to the client. It is necessary to eliminate operations that add no value.
  • Make the procedure run smoothly. Processes that obstruct the free flow of products to customers should be redesigned.
  • Gain insights from the consumer. Lean execution necessitates a thorough understanding of demand and existing inventory, as well as the ability to pull apparel to stores and shelves based on customer demand.
  • Pursue perfection at all costs. Remove any leftover waste. Then repeat the process every time. 

Identifying the Waste Area that Lean Retailing Can Optimize

Lean Retailing makes responding to consumer requirements faster, easier, and more affordable. It's an operational approach for identifying and reducing time and resource waste. Lean in retail processes eliminates bottlenecks, allowing products to flow freely to customers. Small gains across the value chain arise from instilling a culture of continuous improvement in the organization.

Lean Retail improves operations by identifying and eliminating waste that leads to consumer discomfort.

Following are the areas of waste that are identified and can be optimized through lean retaining:

  • Waste of Defects: Stocking goods that are of poor quality, are rejected, or require rework is a waste of defects.
  • Waste of Overproduction: Keeping goods longer than customers' demands hinder cash flow and are a result of overproduction.
  • Waste of Waiting: Customers or employees sometimes wait unnecessarily for information on clothes owing to delivery delays or being out of stock.
  • Waste of Transportation: Unwanted transportation of goods owing to poor quality (exchange or return); unneeded mobility of goods between warehouse and shop.
  • Waste of Inventory: Bringing in huge quantities of products without fitting demand leads to excessive stock and a halt in cash flow; materials in transport, products held on shelves, and seasonal demand all take up a lot of space and labor.
  • Waste of Motion: Employees moving and bending needlessly to choose or find products in accordance with client requirements.
  • Waste of Over-Processing: Duplication of items, invoices, and so on causes delays and rework due to a failure to stick to the timetable or setting up hoardings according to the strategy.
  • Waste of Employee Capabilities: Instead of increasing sales, salespeople are largely doing basic duties and walking around the office.

Importance of Lean Distribution

In Lean distribution, only a client’s order has the power to initiate a pull-based activity. By controlling inventories, simplifying packaging, stock management, material management, handling, and maximizing space utilization, the processes are optimized utilizing lean tools and practices.

Lean distribution reduces month-end stress and assists employees in operating distribution centers, warehouses, and other facilities.

Problems Solved with Lean Fashion

Problems Solved with Lean Fashion

1. Optimize Stock Accuracy:

On adopting the lean fashion tools, store owners don’t have to think much about their stock. Lean fashion helps in optimizing the accurate figures of the stock, so the owner can have a fair idea about what to discard and what new items to bring in for their customers.

2. Enhanced Service Quality from Distribution Center to The Retail Store:

The lean fashion tool helps simplify various procedures, whether it is at the distribution center or the retail store. This gradually helps in enhancing the service quality for the customers.

3. Employees’ Awareness of the Customer Satisfaction “Wow Factors”:

The ultimate aim of any retail brand or shop is to achieve the “Wow Factors” through customer’s satisfaction. When lean fashion is introduced in the retail shop, the employees get a fair idea and become aware of providing the best customer experience.

4. Enhanced On-time Delivery Performance:

Lean fashion automates and optimizes various processes in fashion management, and one such process is on-time delivery performance. Lean fashion hugely affects the on-time performance of the retail store and thus helps in increasing the number of satisfied customers.

5. Controlling Operating Expenses for Enhanced Profitability:

Once retail owners adopt lean fashion tools, they ensure that their various operational expenses will be reduced automatically. No extra wastage of over-production, defects, inventory, employees capabilities will be incurred, resulting in better profit margins.

6. Superfluous Non-Value Adding Activities are Recognized and Deleted Regularly:

With lean fashion tools and strategies, the retail owner gets the advantage of identifying all the unnecessary non-value adding activities and deleting them on a regular basis. This results in improving the profits of the shop and focusing on optimizing other activities that will bring more profits and lead to customer satisfaction.

Final Words

After the arrival of e-commerce, the clothing industry has experienced a revolution in terms of lean fashion. The selling of goods, expanding the business, retaining customers, customer’s satisfaction, enhancing employee’s performances, optimizing business operational activities are all enhanced by lean fashion methodology.

Any brand can see improved changes in profit if they follow the lean fashion ideology for fashion management. For assistance with all your problem-solving needs, feel free to get in touch with Fashinza!


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