Fashion brands have always had their fair share of challenges. The complexities, speed and reach of the industry, together with short seasons, impulsive consumers, online fulfillment and disruptive competitors, are hard enough. Add to this the need to maintain margins and quality amid global trade wars, while navigating shifts in market economies to sustain growth, and it makes working in the footwear and apparel business even more complicated.
Today’s fashion industry serves super-informed consumers who depart current trends to stand out as individuals, and as a result can be persnickety, fickle, impetuous and careful—all at the same time.
Amid the turmoil, CEOs of apparel, footwear and accessory brands see three recurrent, interrelated goals for their businesses: reducing costs, maintaining quality and increasing speed and agility. Progress toward each of these goals has challenges, not least of all for supply chain industry leaders. Overcoming the challenges brings substantial competitive advantages that will place brands in the winner’s circle in the years ahead.
Focusing on goals and advantages, instead of challenges, accelerates the path to lower costs, improved quality and more agility across the global supply chain. Fashion brands adopting this type of positive energy focus will resolve the CEO’s chief business goals and clear the way for additional related benefits, for example:
- Enable data quality management to reduce risks, errors and delays
- Lower transportation costs
- Improve control and visibility across the supply chain and production
- Achieve proactive management of import and export processes
- Enable tariff engineering in new products to create a competitive advantage
- Become more productive across the global supply chain
- Improve speed-to-market
In a three-part series of white papers, Amber Road looks at these competitive advantages and their corresponding challenges from the perspectives of global supply chain, sourcing, logistics and trade compliance executives. We consider what needs to change and suggest how you can improve your company’s global supply chain performance to deliver on cost, quality and speed concurrently.
BUILDING COST ADVANTAGE – While Driving Growth into New Markets
2018 was the first year that more than half of apparel and footwear sales originated from outside of Europe and North America. At the same time, continual segmentation of markets by lifestyle and/or demographic presents opportunities for fashion brand first movers. CEOs are tasking their executives to expand supply chains and global sourcing networks while concurrently working to reduce product and operational costs.
BUILDING QUALITY ADVANTAGE – While Delivering Sustainable Innovation
Consumers are hungrier than ever for innovation, but they also care about sustainability and want fashion that reflects their unique social consciences. The effect brands have on the planet, and fellow global citizens, are swaying buying decisions more than ever. Maintaining quality amid ever-faster innovation cycles, while proving sustainability in maintaining supply chain transparency is central. Risks are higher than ever—one small slip can damage brand value and revenues.
SPEED ADVANTAGE – Anticipating and Rapidly Adapting to Changing Business Conditions Dealing with volatility, uncertainty and shifts in the global economy has been the No. 1 challenge of the fashion industry for the last three years. Trade war woes are sometimes balanced by evolving preferential trade agreement opportunities. Fashion brands, therefore, need to build defensive and offensive sourcing strategies, mitigating against rising tariffs while exploiting free trade. Being agile enough to adapt and take advantage of such volatility requires a micro-focus on supply chain execution speed and global trade enablement.
To succeed, supply chain executives working on improvements in cost, quality and speed, need support from their peers in related functional groups, process re-engineering and technology. Amber Road’s technology solutions and thought leadership help international companies dramatically transform the way they conduct global trade. As a leading provider of cloud-based global trade management (GTM) software, trade content and training, we help companies all over the world create value through their global supply chain by improving margins, achieving greater agility and lowering risk.
Access the first of our three-series white papers by clicking HERE.