Logistics specialists DHL have launched a report that recommends fashion retailers to have a sophisticated supply chain that can keep up with unpredictable behaviour from customers.
The report states that the internet, mobile and growing spending power has made volatility and complexity the norm rather than the exception in the fashion sector.
Based on an industry wide survey and content from roundtable discussions with Global industry leaders, who took part in a Fashion Masterclass earlier this year, the report involves brands including Debenhams, Hunkemöller, IC Company and Levi Strauss & Co.
Marcel Beelen Vice President, Business Development, Fashion and Lifestyle, DHL Supply Chain said supply chains must be able to expand and contract at will, based on market conditions, fashion trends and consumer demands.
“Supply chain flexibility is increasingly important as it brings a strong competitive advantage in the highly volatile fashion market and can make the difference between being a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’. Flexibility enables fashion companies to cope with increasing uncertainty because it facilitates a quick response to changing market needs,” he said.
The ‘Fashion Unleashed’ report, which was written by supply lecturer at the University of Maryland, Lisa Harrington and President of the lharrington group LLC was prepared in collaboration with DHL.
It said fragmented sales channels, escalated service demands, shortened product lifecycles, ratcheted up cost and margin pressures have all created production challenges.
The reports states one way to build responsiveness – without piling up inventory – is to accelerate inventory velocity. Using a distribution centre bypass solution which allows stock to flow directly from manufacturer to a consolidation point can increase speed to market and strip out cost.
“Goods flow in one side of the facility, are sorted, organized and sequenced for retail store delivery, and then moved out the other side in a cross-docking type of flow,” says Wim Eringfeld, Vice President, Business Development, Germany and Alps, DHL Supply Chain. “The idea is to keep things moving.”