Just about every retailer would agree: A responsive end-to-end value chain is a competitive advantage. How else can you profitably meet demand, especially with season-less fashion becoming the norm? Still, if you’re like many retailers, you’re wondering just how to get a 12- to 18-month development calendar down to six months or 90 days — or less. Here are a few things to consider.
#1 Digital Storyboarding:
Management consultant Stephen Covey famously said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Now retail supply chains must end with the beginning in mind, too. That means using new processes and technologies to connect store, online and social media activity to design and product development. To do this, it’s best if you keep processes and products in digital format, longer, to allow for more flexible design iteration and faster cycle time. For example, 3D solutions, working in conjunction with PLM, generate true-to-life prototype images, which can be used on ecommerce websites or in presentations to promote products while the physical products are still in development.
#2 IoT-enabled Supply Chains:
The digital transformation isn’t leaving factories and sourcing partners behind. They are getting connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), becoming more agile along the way. With omnichannel, it’s crucial to know real-time status of shipments and work in process. With heightened focus on social responsibility, transparency is key. For instance, C&A Europe now publicly discloses its full supplier list and wants to develop more Cradle to Cradle certified clothing. IoT-enabled solutions, such as connected PLM leveraged with RFID, can track and trace products in real time, plus monitor the status of machines, operator performance, processes and production lines. IoT has the power to digitally transform product development, manufacturing and warehousing, especially as the use of robots, cobots and digital printing/additive manufacturing become more mainstream.
#3 Connected Retail Operations:
A smart value chain, of course, is only as bright as its successful consumer touchpoints. When stores and e-commerce websites are connected to both shoppers and upstream design, development and sourcing teams, there is an opportunity to capture and act on consumer feedback and preferences with lightening quick speed. To keep the flow of information and products running rapidly and smoothly, you need the control and structure of a central repository for all product information. Plus, you can outperform competitors by leveraging predictive analytics dashboards. For example, you can quickly access factory capacity metrics to determine where to place an order for a hot new style. These highly configurable tools enable you to connect and visualize data across systems, providing people with actionable insights to drive better decisions.
Learn more about how your business can transform its value chain by downloading the infographic.