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Sourcing Journal Podcast: Episode 3 Instant Gratification

To some, on-demand manufacturing might sound like a far off prospect or a concept that can only work for the few and the small, but innovations in both software and hardware are bringing us closer to a future that allows both niche brands and major players to deliver goods based on consumer tastes.

This week, Sourcing Journal highlights how on-demand is evolving and the tangible ways it can help businesses boost their bottom lines.

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Below are excerpts from our discussion with two guests who are actively helping brands and retailers create the supply chain of tomorrow.

Marleen Vogelaar, founder and CEO of on-demand apparel manufacturing platform Ziel, on how far the industry has come in its thinking about on-demand:

“I see a definite shift happening in the last two years. When I first started thinking about building Ziel, people were looking at me like ‘Why are you doing this?’ And I said well 40 percent oversupply, 10 percent undersupply, 60 to 70 percent markdowns and write offs on average. There’s a huge financial problem in this industry. There’s a huge environmental problem in this industry and it can be solved in one go by going on-demand. Now I see that the tide is turning. People have heard about it, read about it and are talking about it.”

Peter Santora, the chief commercial officer of sewing production automation company SoftWear Automation, on how much the industry needs to disrupt itself in order to capitalize on the opportunities on-demand offers:

“Major apparel brands spend less than 1 percent on R&D. They’re not designed to take on automation in a big way. They’re designed to follow a trend that’s already taking place. The strategy is usually design a product, source it and then get a contract manufacturer who can tweak it and the contract manufacturer comes to an automation or machine vendor to get solutions for that product. I don’t think the future of these fully automated products is designed that way. Brands and contract manufacturers have to 1) get on the same page with their potential for being disrupted, and 2) develop a team strategy around how to offset that risk.

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This podcast episode is made possible by Cotton Incorporated, a not-for-profit company funded by U.S. cotton producers and importers, and whose mission is to increase the demand and profitability of cotton. Discover What Cotton Can Do.