The fast pace of consumer demand combined with global supply chain disruptions is putting manufacturers on their heels to keep up—but Interloop knows it is more than capable of adapting to current uncertainties. In fact, the hosiery manufacturer has robust plans to more than double its current apparel capacity from 20 million to 45 million pieces.
“Flexibility is the name of the game,” said Faryal Sadiq, vice president, sales and marketing at Interloop. “We were seeing disruptions every three or four years, but now we’re seeing it every three to four months, so our reaction time has to be a lot faster.”
Based in Pakistan, Interloop has taken measures to ensure flexibility for its partners, expanding its production presence to Sri Lanka and contracting manufacturing out to China as part of its push to diversify its capabilities.
The company also develops joint business planning processes with its supply chain partners, where estimated costs are laid out 12 months in advance but updated for improved accuracy on a rolling, monthly basis. Sadiq said that information is shared throughout the supply chain, all the way down to the fiber producer level so they can also react to the information in real time.
In a fireside chat with Sourcing Journal, Shelley Rider, president, Interloop North America, shared the benefits of this type of collaborative planning in fostering supply chain flexibility.
“We reevaluate every single month based on what’s selling, what’s trending and we call out an early warning to what we need to do in the manufacturing end of the business to adjust our capacities,” said Shelley Rider, president, Interloop North America. “Do we need to chase more product? Do we need to pull back and cancel orders, or even box-and-hold inventory? It’s that constant review of the business and making decisions together on what to make that really has helped us be very flexible throughout.”
As flexibility becomes a bigger need throughout the apparel supply chain, brands can no longer prioritize regions where manufacturing costs are bound to be lower, Sadiq said.
“You really have to evaluate the ability of your partner to operate in different regions,” said Sadiq, citing the success of Interloop’s presence in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka despite both countries enduring recent economic and political challenges.
“Our ability to deliver—to service our customers on time—hasn’t suffered at all,” said Sadiq. “It’s good to understand the strength of your partner, the diversity of their manufacturing base and the products and services that they offer—and not just look at the cost base. That’s the first question that brands and retail partners ask, but that equation is changing.”
Traceability often goes hand in hand with these flexibility ambitions. Earlier this year, Interloop debuted its end-to-end supply chain traceability solution Looptrace, which is designed to enable stakeholders to track, trace and access transparent raw material information, helping both Interloop and its partners meet shared sustainability goals.
“All the yarn produced at Interloop’s spinning facilities using Pakistani cotton is traceable back to the last farm, to the region that it came from,” said Sadiq.
Tracing back to “Tier 3 and Tier 4 are where things become a bit hazy, “ according to Sadiq. However, Interloop’s end consumers can now trace a product all the way back to Tier 4 suppliers.
Click the image above to watch the video and learn more about Interloop’s steps to improve supply chain flexibility.