Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Daniella Ambrogi explains why fashion needs a digitized supply chain and the relationship between quality and loyalty.
Name: Daniella Ambrogi
Title: vice president marketing
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
The automotive industry probably has an incredibly sophisticated supply chain because of the nature of the product. There are so many interconnected component parts to an automobile and a lot of lead time between design, development, manufacturing and delivery. They have to plan far ahead and there is also a complex process of reassessing strategies, again because of the nature of the product. I think apparel can learn a lot about the connected nature of the supply chain and coordinating a large number of contributors and stakeholders.
Do you consider yourself a typical consumer?
I would have to say that I am not, if only because I have an insider’s view of the fashion process. As a result, I am probably more focused on quality than your average consumer. Also, while I love to customize and shop online, I am still very much into going to the store, and I am selective about where I have loyalty.
What does it take to win your loyalty?
It’s all about quality and fit. I am going to stick with a brand that fits me well consistently, but also one that has consistent quality. This is not as common as you’d think for brands. I want to know that I can trust anything I like is going to be well made.
What are your typical work and weekend uniforms?
I am a mix of casual and fashionable. For work, I want to look professional, of course, but I am busy and need to feel comfortable. On weekends, I am active, hiking or biking, so I like activewear, but I want it to be fashionable.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
I know there are a lot of throwbacks to different eras right now, but the ’70s is probably my favorite. It’s fun and playful and colorful, and there’s a simplicity I find freeing as well. I can skip the polyester leisure suits, though.
Who’s your style icon?
Going back to quality and fit and simplicity, I’d have to say Giorgio Armani. His designs are straightforward and always the highest quality. I also enjoy Ralph Lauren. He’s an American icon for a reason, and I enjoy the classics.
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
Lectra’s commitment to investing in R&D has been really inspirational and allowed us to help our clients produce some truly novel products, as well as helped us to develop our own game-changing offerings, and it all goes back to prioritizing research and innovation.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
We really do live our values of caring, committed, insightful and visionary. We’re caring because we are loyal and close to customers, we personalize our approach so that each customer feels supported. We are committed to a zero-fault objective and our teams are committed to doing all they can to ensure our customers optimize the use of our solutions. We bring insight through a deep knowledge of our customers’ markets and professions, and we pour this expertise into our solutions and services. Finally, our vision stems from our passion for innovation. Our teams anticipate how technological evolutions will shape our customers’ economic models.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
Digitization of the supply chain should be at the front of everyone’s strategy. Fashion is often reluctant to invest in technology on the back end, and this has consequences. Brands are all focusing on e-commerce, but without a digitized supply chain and the technology to make operations agile, efficient and transparent, brands are not going to have the business infrastructure to support their consumer-facing digital technology effectively. It all needs to be integrated.
What keeps you up at night?
A few months ago, I might have had a different answer, but now I worry about how we’re going to get through this pandemic together. The human cost is top of mind for me, and I’m really inspired by the way Lectra has been able to partner with others to produce PPE and help our clients make this pivot as well. Nothing is more important than getting life-saving apparel to the people who need it right now. Then there’s the business side of it, and I of course worry about how retail will innovate to come through this. But we’re seeing some creative solutions out there, and I’m optimistic that we will emerge from this more resilient as an industry.
What makes you most optimistic?
The way people have mostly demonstrated overwhelming empathy and come together to support each other, from individuals to organizations, instills a lot of optimism in me. As a professional, the collaboration and use of technology to empower continuity, connection and a sense of community to solve problems is very inspiring.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:
We are very excited about Fashion On Demand by Lectra, the industry’s first seamless, end-to-end on-demand solution. Lectra also recently acquired Retviews, which enables fashion brands to analyze the market efficiently and have a 360-degree overview of their competitors to compare prices, assortment mixes, discounts, sell-outs and much more with real-time data. Kubix Link, another innovation, is an intuitive, cloud-based Product Experience Management (PXM) platform that connects PLM, PIM, DAM and other data into a unique ecosystem to connect all internal and external actors from design to storefront.