Any business, no matter what industry it’s in and no matter how big or small, will have a supply chain of some sort, made up of all the individuals, organisations, technology, resources and activities that are involved in product design, manufacture and entire lifecycle.
For brands in the retail sector, the level of involvement across all areas of production is often quite high and it can be difficult for companies to pinpoint exactly what the origins of their different product parts actually are.
This is something that is only going to come into focus increasingly as time goes on, with consumers even now demanding more from the companies they do business with – and sustainability is fast becoming one of the most desired values for brands to have.
The global fashion industry itself is a hugely labour intensive one, with tens of millions of people employed in the sector around the world.
The flipside of this, however, is that the environmental footprint of the industry is high, with tonnes of water, oil, crops and chemicals used in garment production… and consumers are demonstrating a growing appetite for a more sustainable and long-lasting approach to fashion, one that puts human rights and the environment at the very heart of operations.
What can be done?
The good news is that there’s a lot that brands can do to reduce their environmental footprint – and even start operating in a way that’s actively good for the planet, rather than detrimental.
The supply chain is, perhaps, the best place to begin and this is where PLM services will really come into their own, helping businesses to make sustainability-driven decisions and boost their green credentials, potentially quite significantly.
These tools help to make the supply chain far more transparent, making it a lot easier for you to find eco-friendly suppliers when looking for raw product materials. You’re also able to track the environmental impact of any and all products you bring to market, making decisions based on the information presented to you in your materials library.
Have you considered supply chain integration?
Supply chain integration is a way of working that allows all suppliers and stakeholders involved in the project to view and exchange information throughout the entire manufacturing process – all on a single system.
It comes with a wide range of benefits, including total transparency from supplier to customer – which, again, is going to become more important in the near future, as increasing demands are made on brands to publish sustainability reports detailing their various activities.
Sustainability aside, supply chain integration can also help boost the productivity of your business and drive efficiencies across the board.
For example, PLM software allows suppliers to see any errors within product components so they can provide you with corrections then and there, speeding up the process exponentially. The system will send notifications out to you when suppliers leave suggestions and recommendations, which you can then approve or reject.
Robust supply chain management strategies that coordinate sourcing, production, inventory and transport at maximum efficiencies will only serve to prove advantageous to brands, no matter what industry they’re in.
You’re sure to realise time and cost savings by working in this way – and it needn’t be too complicated or time-consuming to set up if you make excellent use of PLM systems.
For the majority of companies, the supply chain is actually responsible for most of their environmental impact, so by focusing on this you’ll find that you’re able to reduce your footprint very significantly.
Green business is good business these days so if you’d like to find out more about how you and your fashion retail brand could benefit from supply chain integration – and how PLM can help you see success – get in touch with the Bombyx team today.