In addition to flattening the consumer-facing end of the fashion industry, digitization is also shaking up the supply chain. According to integrated technology solutions-provider Lectra, the fourth industrial revolution — or, Industry 4.0 as the company calls it — is well underway, marking opportunities for brands and wholesalers.
“Industry 4.0 will change everything about how fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers work and respond to customer demands,” said Jason Adams, president of Lectra North America, “The companies that begin to embrace digitization and smart manufacturing now will be the ones best-positioned to take advantage of the big business opportunities that come with such profound change.”
The ongoing technological advancements have resulted in the development of smart manufacturing, which relies on cloud-connected machinery to monitor and automate production processes. The service aims to remove siloed departments while heightening communication between supply chain players and consumers, a Lectra spokesman said.
In an infographic report released by Lectra, “The Rise of Industry 4.0 in Fashion,” the benefits of digitization are immense. Brands and retailers stand to gain “three to five percent more overall productivity, 20 to 50 percent increases in speed to market, 85 percent growth in forecast accuracy, 10 to 20 percent decrease in cost of quality, and 20 to 50 percent reduction in inventory cost,” said the report.
For improved transparency throughout the supply chain, retailers and brands stand to improve and expand into mass production, agile production, made to measure and mass personalization. “Thanks to the Internet of Things, companies can now produce personalized goods in large volumes while staying profitable,” said the report. “Enterprise-wide transparency gives companies the flexibility to adjust their supply-chain mechanisms according to individual needs.”
This hinges on the selection of the most appropriate service provider. “Fashion and apparel companies interested in transforming themselves in order to directly engage in this digital age should look for technology partners who can provide solutions that are modular and scalable in order to stay flexible, as well as a partner who can provide smart services and training. Expert training is vital to achieving operational excellence through technology,” said Adams.
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