The handling of the flow of services and goods between locations and businesses is known as supply chain management (SCM). The process might include storing raw materials, movement of finished goods, work-in-process inventory, and end-to-end order fulfillment. The supply chain management process commences with raw components and continues until the final-product customer delivery.
Supply chain management is vital in all sectors; however, it has become much more critical in the fashion and apparel industry. The vast fashion and apparel industry transforms regularly, which makes the competition level high. Thus, only a few startup companies can survive in such a competitive market. The apparel industry is complicated and has three supply chains: pull, push, and push-pull.
The supply chain in the fashion and apparel industry can be broken down into five categories. All the categories impact procedural improvements for managing productivity and designing. Let's know about them in brief.
The first step in the complete process is to plan. Researching and preparing the designs, requirements, raw materials, ancillary materials, ideas, and production method is fundamental. Without proper planning, no industry excels, so before a company starts full-scale production, it needs to look into all the steps and plan accordingly.
Designers play the most critical part in this industry. They make specific designs, choose fabric, trim and fit them, and try to finish the clothing item in a better way. They need to stay updated with the market trends, understand customers' needs, and accordingly produce apparel.
In this complete process, it is also essential to consider aspects such as the quality of the fabric and design as per the season and occasion.
This step involves finding and selecting the appropriate manufacturer to work per the demands. It is also essential to discuss the designs, price, time, and other elements before the confirmation. Many companies prefer in-house manufacturing, so they might also need to go through the step to source raw materials such as fiber, textile mill, and much more.
Once the design is prepared, manufacturing takes place. This step requires a lot of raw materials, spinning, weaving, blending, dying of the clothes, and other materials to produce the final product.
The whole process needs to be looked after by professionals so that nothing goes wrong. It is also vital to have skilled workers for the manufacturing of the product.
After designing and textile manufacturing, the product goes through the step of apparel manufacturing. In this step, the clothing material is cut and then sewed as per the designers' advice. This process turns the fabric into a wearable garment. Fabric cutting, printing, embroidery, sewing, thread trimming, washing, ironing, folding, and packing are all included in this step.
It is the most crucial step, as it inspects the quality of the products that are manufactured. This step ensures everything in terms of quality, from stitching faults to missing buttons and other issues. It can occur any time after the garment is prepared, but ideally before it is delivered to the customer.
The fashion and apparel industry is spread worldwide, and it gets difficult to follow the distribution step. However, supply chain management looks into the complete process and manages it by tracking and optimizing transportation. In this step, the apparel is transported to the key markets. Often, it is sent to the distribution market, but sometimes, it is shipped directly to retailers.
Marketing has transformed significantly in recent times. Unlike the old marketing ideas, sales channels now require more digital engagement. The company must determine the best ways to market its products and improve sales. It can be done through advertising campaigns, adjusting prices, and using other strategies. This ultimately needs analytical market reports, customer approaches, and expectations, according to which the strategies are framed.
After the complete process, it is the time when buyers purchase the items online or directly from the shop. For this, retailers need to focus more on inventory management.
Almost every supplier sticks to the supply chain management process as it delivers more value to the customers. Some of the main objectives of supply chain management are as follows:
Consumers are increasingly more concerned about transparent and sustainable supply chains. Improved supply chain management leads to efficient resource management. Leaders in the logistics chain can examine the raw materials used in their products and work directly with suppliers to implement more sustainable practices. This has significant financial implications since less material is wasted, and manufacturers can cut their energy and water consumption.
The supply chain management process also focuses on the quality of manufactured products. It ensures that the company manufactures excellent products and reduces waste. While the management keeps track of good quality products, customers enjoy and cherish the quality. It builds a good reputation for the company in the market and later affects its overall market and value.
Supply chain management also ensures the optimization of logistics as well as transportation. Improved communication and coordination with all levels of suppliers enable apparel businesses to continue manufacturing goods under all conditions. They are less likely to be affected by supplier delays and widespread raw material shortages. They can immediately learn about possible issues before they have an impact on the market. There can be more easily pivot to new vendors during logistical problems by diversifying their supply networks.
Fashion retailers who collaborate well with a diversified supplier network can cut costs in various ways. Before placing new purchases, they can obtain samples and quotations from multiple vendors. Following that, by accurately estimating demands, shops can order less safety stock. They can place fresh orders based on current demand. This method allows companies to retain enough products on hand to meet customer demand while avoiding overstock at the end of the season.
Every company wants to satisfy its customers. But satisfying the customers might not be easy. The supply chain management tries to provide the best quality service to the customers; it selects appropriate methodologies, systems, and partners to provide exceptional services with transparency that every customer demands. So it's all interlinked. A better supply chain results in better customer experiences, which later result in satisfied customers with increased brand loyalty.
Supply chain management looks after several processes and, thus, aims to improve the whole distribution system. It lets the company handle the task and complete the orders before or on time. The equal distribution of work is done between all the sectors, and the management looks into every step of the process, from raw materials to manufacturing, until it's delivered.
Another essential objective of supply chain management is to create better coordination between various business stakeholders. The management organizes a proper channel for better communication and coordination between suppliers, employees, and customers.
A well-managed supply chain assures a consistent supply of products that arrive in time to fulfil current demands. The fashion and apparel industry is enormous and requires supply chain management support. It helps reduce costs, satisfy customers, provide better distribution and coordination, good quality products, and much more.
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