Problems with apparel industry’s supply chains
Seven supply chain challenges for apparel companies
The pandemic played a spoilsport for many industries, including apparel. But with normalcy back in the world, the apparel industry is gearing up for action. The growth of eCommerce, the advent of many technological innovations, and new ideas play a critical role in its development.
However, it is the supply chain problems that are giving jitters to the industry. Let’s see what these supply chain issues plaguing the industry and causing delays or losses are.
Volatile demand is the key characteristic of the apparel industry. Some fashion fads just stay for a week or so and then disappear, never to come back. What you are left with is inventory that no one will buy, and you have to pay for its procurement.
Ethical and environmental concerns
Customers have become increasingly concerned about working conditions in your factory that may harm your workers. They keep themselves aware of the environmental impact of your processes, such as pollution, use of water, or anything else. Another concern is the use of artificial or animal-harming fiber for clothes’ production.
If you have not implemented any measures against these unethical and harmful business practices, expect a severe backlash from customers.
Uncertain events, such as natural disasters, can affect your production processes. The recent Covid pandemic halted production; an event, which no one thought of until 2019. Such uncertain events lead to stock shortages, due to which you cannot address customer demands. And it is difficult to gain back the customer once lost.
Rapidly changing trends affecting loyalty
Earlier, customers remained loyal to their preferred brands based on quality, cost, or other factors. But as the trends and fads on social media change every week, customers’ loyalty also changes fast. They may be loyal to you for a week, but if the next apparel store brings another trend, customers move to them. So, stores are wary of keeping excess inventory, but they have to be careful about sudden demand also.
Far-off production locations
Most of the time, apparel manufacturers outsource production to far-off locations because of low-cost benefits. But, in such cases, the time to market increases. Moreover, if there are any border issues or fashion changes rapidly, the late-arriving inventory serves no purpose. So, a wise decision weighing cost benefits vs. time-to-market is essential.
Many possibilities of distribution or logistics problems can affect the apparel industry’s supply chain. There can be a war situation like the current times, or a major pandemic like Covid-19 that affected the transportation of goods across many borders. A slight holdup at a distributor’s place may delay your inventory supply for a day, but the effect is tremendous. Once customers come to your store and do not find the desired item, they may never return.
We live in a world of rapid changes in fashion and weekly fads. So, forecasting the demand for different products is challenging. Demand volatility, seasonal changes, and social media-influenced fads affect these forecasts. Also, adding in the factor of your business model and your customers’ expectations from you, decision-making is taxing.
These are some of the supply chain challenges that the apparel industry faces. The best solution is implementing ERP software to manage the supply chain well. The ERP software will track historical data. You can forecast demand based on this historical data, customer preferences, and evolving fashion trends. You can keep track of shipments to reduce transportation issues and often engage with customers to build loyalty.
Websys ERP can provide all these benefits and many more to make your store operations easier and smoother.
Improve your supply chain’s workflow with Websys’ ERP solution.