Is Old Sourcing Still Key to Success in Apparel Industry?

 

Is Old Sourcing Still Key to Success in Apparel Industry?

By definition, sourcing is a process through which something is sourced from another place. The sourcing decision is normally made on the basis of several factors. Although sourcing of anything is not a simple task. That’s why, the concern people always first try to make/develop the product by their own.

If the production of particular product is not cost effective, non-availability of skills, unsatisfactory suppliers or vendors then they have to go for sourcing. There are four factors on the basis of which one can decide whether to make or source the product. And it includes cost, production capability, quality and lead time of the required product.

Cost: In some products, the product cost is not as cheaper as compare to the outsource supplier. It could be due to several factors like cheaper labor availability or cheaper raw material cost due to several suppliers. So, in this particular case, you better decide for sourcing the product instead of in-house production.

Production Capability: Every territory and geographic location has its own characteristics and benefits. For apparel industry examples, some areas have skilled labor of top items (jackets, upper, shirts etc). Whereas, some are good in washing capability due to its good water PH value and labor proficiency. So, in this particular case, you will have to make a decision for product outsourcing.

Quality: Quality is no doubt the foremost requirement of everyone. If you are compromising on product quality due to unskilled labor or usage of sub-standard raw material. And even you could have option to procure the better quality with same cost or paying some pennies extra to them. Then your first choice would be outsource the particular product.

Lead Time: The lead time of is really crucial in every product making process. Some companies have expertise and running regular orders in particular products. Such companies can offer you not only competitive prices of the same product but also give you a short lead time. So, in that particular case, you will definitely choose outsourcing option. In short, if the narrated factors are not met then sourcing decision has to make.

Old Sourcing:

The fashion industry was use to follow the traditional ways of sourcing. In which the main motive is to reduce product cost through selection of cheapest manufacturers. And in order to get cheap manufacturing vendors, you have to look for in less developed countries. This is why, the fashion industry gradually moved from west to Eastern Europe to Asia and Africa.

With the passage of time, the ways of production and processing is changing and improving. The research and development teams are continuously focusing on time high quality product with low cost. In order to reduce the cost, instead of human being, the robots are working in many industries. So, by adding these automation options, one can control his/her day to day increasing labor cost. If this addition is practically implemented then it can affect 231 million manufacturing jobs at risk in almost 50 countries of the world.

Sourcing Automation & Digitization:

Not only this, through technology the sourcing can also be cost effective as well as fast.  The R&D  people also suggested some new ways through which sourcing operation can handle efficiently and even effectively. And as per them, there are two ways which can revolutionize the sourcing world and it include as follows:

Digitization in Sourcing:  

It’s the requirement of every client for more transparency in production and material sourcing. Along with that everyone is demanding for shorter lead-time and increased production. All of this can happen by the help of digitization in sourcing. As per the current market scenario where speedy but customize production trend is getting hot. So, you can’t meet the market trends without digital support. The digital sourcing has positive impact on China which is a big player in textile sector. Since the wages are increasing in China so it’s time to move brand manufacturing outside China. In this particular matter, digitization will help the Chinese manufacturers to streamline its product cost.

In-fact, sourcing digitization will empower the client to speak more effectively. As per the experts, there will be a time when people place customize apparel orders through their mobiles. These order will digitally sent to the manufacturers for completing the desired job.  So, the elimination in barriers through digitization will definitely help the manufacturers to speed-up their productions. And this can shorten the lead time and allow end users to communicate their requirement directly. When we look this concept in a broader way then a storekeeper can place the order directly to manufacturer.  So, he will place the order as per the current requirements of the local market.

Li&Fung is currently investing heavily in digitization concept. And their main motive is to streamline their operations, transparency in production and focusing on digital-design to avoid prototype cost. The famous brands Zara, H&M and Macy’s are also focusing on same line. What they are doing, they are trying to change the whole shopping experience of the customer who visit them. They will try something to the customer and then it will be customized by the help of AI and made nearby.

Automation in Sourcing:

Automation in sourcing means you replace human labor with robots. This approach is vice versa to the traditional sourcing where everyone prefer remote manufacturers due to low cost. But in this approach, your manufacturing is handling by robots so you try to build manufacturing set up closer to end user markets. Moreover, you have a close interaction with the end user so the product innovation or customization is possible. Along with that you can easily enhance your production speed which will shorten the lead time of high fashion apparels. Furthermore, changing in geographical location can also eliminate the huge cost and hassle of long-distance transportation/duties. In-future, if this concept runs well then there will be no inventory at all as all products are made on-request.

There is no doubt that most of the people believed that in future automation would be the major driver in sourcing decision. And this thing will happen in next few years when sourcing people prefer automation instead of labor cost. Its fact, by implementing automation, there is chance the number of people will lose their jobs. But on the other hand, the new jobs are also created with better remunerations. And these new jobs would be a bit tech oriented like data analyst, engineers, technician etc. By adopting automation, factories have even a better chance to grow. So, they could also adjust the surplus staff to other vacant posts (after some training).

Conclusion:

There are some people who don’t believe on automation and digitization approach. As per them, the apparel industry is not like other industries where production steps are fixed.  As every product production steps are different from past products due to change in fashion trends (which are already a more volatile thing of current phase). So, you can’t replace skilled workers with robots. On the other hand, some believe that digitization accompanied with automation can be practical and beneficial. But it’s not homogeneous size which fits for all. As it would be more practical for some brands and may be impractical for few of them.

Digitization and automation in sourcing is no doubt a revolutionary concept for fashion players. And there are so many brands which are transforming their processes to take maximum benefits from this concept. Through automation, we can’t say this thing that mass production will be shifted in  West in next decade. But you will see many players who will return and collect the benefits of this approach.

How You Can Save Environment from Waste Clothes

How You Can Save Environment from Waste Clothes

The fashion industry is swinging on its full pace. Since clothing is a vital part of human’s life and became the eighth largest segment in day-to-day household spending. The big players are constantly launching new and stylish trends with highly competitive prices. Although it sounds good to follow the fast paced fashion trends with comparatively cheap prices. But it is creating a sheer load on our environment in shape of textile waste. The clothing consumption has significantly increased for last 03 decades. And according to Greenpeace study, today we buy 60% more clothing than we did 15 years ago. The fast fashion trend and our crazy buying behavior are polluting our environment desperately. Unfortunately, the fashion industry was estimated the second largest waste producer after Oil and Gas.

According to “The Atlantic”, the average North American consumer buys 64 items of clothes per anum. It means, an average consumer buys 1.2 garments per weak. And he/she creates 82 pounds of unwanted clothes per anum for the environment.  On the other hand, as per Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs data, it is estimated that 1,130,000 tons of clothing was purchased in UK in 2016. And this was almost 180,000 tons higher than year 2012. And as per the research findings, the average clothing life in UK is around 3.3 years. Whereas, the other research shows that it is only 2.2 years and then it discarded or donated. For the last ten years, the turnover of waste clothes in UK has been significantly increased.

Brands Efforts Toward Waste Clothes:

Since the contribution of fashion industry towards environment pollution is increasing day by day. So, the joint efforts are being carried out by the big players to sustain the environment. The below you will see the story of some brands from the them:

H&M:

The big chain H&M launched its Conscious Collection which is made with recycled material. Not only this, the Garment Collection (Year-2013) range was also made with recycled material. As per company’s announcement, you can drop your old clothes/home textiles of any brand to our local store. We will recycle it and give it new life. Up-till now, the company claimed that they have collected 32000 tons waste garments to give them a new life. Moreover in 2017, H&M offered $5.8 million to Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel to develop such chemical technology which recycle blended textile.

Sainsbury:

The famous retailer Sainsbury in collaboration with Oxfam, trying to urges its customers to donate unwanted clothes to its collection points. But as of now, the overall result regarding donation is not as good as expected. As per UK research findings, around 49% respondents don’t donate clothes because they are worn out or dirty. Whereas, 16% respondents don’t have enough time to sort out old clothes or visit collection center for donation. And 6% respondents don’t know this thing that the clothes can be recycled.

Levi & Strauss:

The same thing Levi’s did in 2016, it has partnered with EVRNU and created first sustainable jeans. This jean was made with 05 discarded T-shirt’s renewed fiber. And this “511” jeans was not only use waste clothes but also use 98% less water than virgin cotton products.

Inditex:

The Spanish brand Inditex is teaming up with Lenzing for its 2016-2020 environment strategy plan. The Lenzing recycles its off cuts into cotton Lyocell mix. This project will start with 500 tons of textile waste and with an aim to uplift it around 3000 tons within few years. As per company’s statement, they will provide enough fabric to Lenzing to produce 48 million garments. Moreover, they are collaborating with local charity Cáritas, now they are planning to install 1500-2000 garments collection bins in Spain’s major hubs.

Keeping in view the current consumer’s buying trend and behavior and it’s directly effect on environment. We need to restrict our buying behavior and extend the garment’s wearing life. If we add nine months in current life then we can definitely reduce environmental impact around 20-30%. While buying a new cloth, we need to see this whether we could use the same around 30 times? If no then leave this item. And for this, always buy quality garments and don’t prefer quantity over quality. And last but not least, Donate, Donate and Donate. As this is the only way, we could play a healthy and positive contribution towards our environment.

How Fashion Fabrics Distract Forest Sustainability

 

How Fashion Fabrics Distract Forest Sustainability

From fashion to environment, everything is changing drastically. The awareness of environment condition updates reaches us not so often. So, every new update from environment friendly people/organizations increases our concerns towards eco-friendly environment dream. We are wasting countless forest tress for our fashion craze. As these trees are being used in the manufacturing of dissolving pulp to produce fabrics like Viscose, Modal and Lyocell. These are the fabrics which are extensively use by the famous brands for the fashion wears. As per the research findings, More than 120 million trees are cut every year for cellulosic fabric. And, the pulp production will be double by 2050.

From last three and half years, the CanopyStyle campaign, which is partnering with fashion brands, fashion designers and their viscose suppliers to keep the world’s endangered forests out of the rayon/viscose clothing. The Canopystyle’s campaign is with a motto that being stylish doesn’t have to cost the earth. The Canopystyle environmental friendly initiatives become the fastest moving environmental step in apparel industry. And now in such a short time period, the 100 famous fashion and apparel brands (H&M, C&A, M&S, Levi’s, Inditex/Zara, ASOS, VF Corp and many more) who have already signed on to the fastest-pace environmental initiative and became the part of this environment friendly cause.

Forest Sustainability:

The Canopy and the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) have decided to work together to keep the global endangered forests out of the US fashion supply chain. As per the president of USFIA, Julia K Huges, “Several of our members are part of the CanopyStyle initiative already. And we look forward to propelling Canopy’s positive impact in the rayon and viscose supply chain even further in the US marketplace.”

Canopy & USFIA Partnership:

The Canopy (not-for-profit environmental organization) has deep expertise in supply chain management. It collaborates with more than 750 companies around the world to develop innovative solutions to make their supply-chains more sustainable. And it helps to protect the world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests. Whereas, the USFIA has more than 200 members who are doing businesses globally and are champions on global trade issues.

So, everyone from the industry is expecting that this alliance will give the opportunity to the importers to make sure this thing that rayon and viscose fabrics from controversial sources will not be the part of their supply chain. Along with that, this alliance will also support to develop and introduce new products methodologies through innovative technologies. And this will ultimately support the fashion and environment to develop such alternatives like straw and recycled clothing which would recover the environment too.

Why Sustainability in Fashion Industry is Essential

Why Sustainability in Fashion Industry is Essential

Sustainability is a big and productive step towards economic reform. The toxic rivers/lakes, cancer-causing pollution levels and mass water shortages became a big challenge for the future world. Sustainability is no more a dream but a practice which pushed 2000 factories to implement corrective action through its Green Supply Chain project. It’s a complete guideline that how does one can use the natural resources without impacting external environment. And for this, the manufacturing facilities are trying various methodologies to maintain equilibrium, by minimizing exploitation of natural resources.

Big companies/brands have the power to influence the beginning of a supply chain. And they can also ensure this thing that both working conditions and materials sourcing reach a high ethical standard. And the positive thing is that they are doing good job for this as The Pulse of the Fashion Industry Report proved this thing that the big players performing good as compare to mid size and smaller companies. Even then, the big names need to do much more because they are one who damaged the environment the most.

Companies Sustainability Initiatives:

A number of clothing companies including M&S, Asos, Levi Strauss, Nike, Kering and H&M have all strive to ensure this thing that the 100% cotton which they will use for the garments should come from sustainable sources by 2025. Similarly,The VF Corporation’s brand named Wrangler has already launched a pilot program. The said program is helping the US cotton farmers reach the next level in sustainable growing practices. Here we should also mention the productive efforts of renowned jeans brand “Levi Strauss”. As it is pledging USD 350,000 to develop innovations in the apparel supply chain. The less water intensive products, expansion of a normal indigo dyeing facility and developing wastewater treatment solutions more accessible to artisan workshops are also part of this part of this project.

H&M also took some major steps in this area and their new conscious exclusive collection and their conscious choice range. H&M’s conscious exclusive collection is normally launched every April and pushes forward in both sustainability and style. The Collection features pieces made from the pioneering sustainable material BIONIC®, a polyester made from recovered plastic from our shorelines; a productive and healthy step for protecting our oceans from plastic pollution. Moreover, H&M has announced to share their product’s (Conscious Exclusive Ladies collection) manufacturing journey with us. And everyone can read about the materials, the factories where the garments were made and much more at their official website www.hm.com.

Sustainability Gains:

In the future, it will be really interesting to see that how more brands (especially mid size and small companies) will come and join the sustainability as part of their core social, economic and moral responsibility. And this would be the time to see that how it will affect the overall fashion industry. Along with that, the end user also has an obligation to be sustainability aware. Because, the understanding of sustainability in the young experts will make them the game changers. And the hope for the transformation of the industry can be possible in the next decade.