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Video: Why a Digitized Supply Chain Is Apparel’s ‘Now Need’

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed many flaws within apparel supply chains, namely that there is still an over-reliance on outdated, manual means of communication. This dependency has a cost—and will continue to cost retailers time and money due to slower lead times, irrelevant orders, and inevitable product waste. This means digitization is paramount to delivering more accurate, efficient, and transparent supply chain operations.

In a recent Fireside Chat, Sourcing Journal publisher Caletha Crawford conversed with Suuchi Ramesh, CEO and founder of cloud-based supply chain management platform Suuchi Inc., to discuss how supply-chain digitization plans have become retail’s “now need” instead of an investment that can wait a few years.

Ramesh points out that a major part of the supply chain’s issues come down to the fact that many stakeholders simply can’t access all the information necessary to make proper decisions or share it in real-time. To remedy this, the company looks to eliminate supply-chain silos by offering software, the Suuchi GRID, that democratizes access for all supply-chain participants. One of the GRID’s modules fosters communication and collaboration across borders and skillsets, using individual and group chat features for general topics and product-specific communication.

Ramesh acknowledged that harmonization across the chain is difficult to accomplish with complex, clunky legacy systems in place. However, she noted that deliberation in picking the right system is the best way to foster supply-chain digitization.

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“It really starts by having everybody digitized. All of the participants at corporate, agents, consultants, factories, and suppliers—all have a seat at the table,” said Ramesh. “When they’re all conversing with others across the length and breadth of the supply chain, and you can empower them to do that fast, that is the foundation off of which everything else can be built.”

That’s why Ramesh urges brands and retailers to carefully vet supply-chain partners, ideally opting for those that have digital identities to minimize the potential risks of the partnership and costs of compliance. These digital replicas must contain detailed information about all the participants involved to prevent activities like quality control and audits from being duplicated.

The GRID also includes a marketplace module that operates as a global sourcing network designed to let users access curated factory and vendor partners’ digital profiles, enabling retailers to vet them and make more informed supply chain decisions. Retailers can even bring their established factories and suppliers onto the platform.

“It’s very critical that the physical and the digital systems are not separated as you add new factories,” Ramesh said. “If there was ever a time to make sure that it happens, it is now.”

Click here to watch the video to learn more about why Ramesh says it’s crucial for digital tools to be intuitive and how she says brands and retailers investing in this technology can achieve the quickest time to value.