Is Old Sourcing Still Key to Success in Apparel Industry?

sourcing

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 skill, 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. In short, if the narrated factors are not met then sourcing decision has to make.

Old Sourcing:

The fashion industry was used 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, the robots have been introduced 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 handled 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 these are changed with the 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 Wearable Technology Supports Fashion & Health Sector

How Wearable Technology Supports Fashion & Health Sector

The growing usage of wearable technology is transforming the pattern of people’s life.  And now its application in fashion industry is revolutionizing the whole industry’s trends and objectives. As per Allied Market Research, in year 2015, the wearable market was valued US$ 19.6 billion. And till year 2022, it is expected to grow around US$57.5 billion (with a compound growth 16.2% annually).  Whereas, the growth rate of smart wearable textile is 40% annually and with a prediction of US$2.5 billion by year 2021.

The usage of sensors, heating elements or even battery charging devices in wearables is a normal example in smart textile. The military, hospitals and sports wears are the best potential segments for such kind of smart wearable. And by adding such gadgets, you can check the heart rate, breathing, skin temperature, perspiration level etc.

Wearable Technology Health Gains:

As discussed earlier, the usage of the wearable gadgets contributing a lot in the health sector. By applying these wearables you can get better results of patient treatment with physical injury and functional disabilities. And not only this, you can also avoid injury for patients at risk. Moreover, with the help of muscle and motion sensors, you can get useful data of the patient’s biomechanics. And this will be helpful for the health experts to advice better prescription.

As far as the affects of these gadgets on human health is concern, this thing already under consideration of the tech experts. So, the frequencies levels are in between 450MHZ and 2700 MHZ. Whereas, the power levels are 0.1 Watts and 2 Watts (which are safe for human health and body).

World’s Efforts Towards Wearable Technology:

Since the R&D work is going in recent phase so the quality parameters are considered on top priority basis. So, the quality of smart wearable textile is especially develop on high performance features and standards.  As per the Vice-President of Intertek Testing Services, ” all wearable technology had to be carefully tested to ensure it met strict manufacturing requirements”. Anyhow, the research and development teams are striving their best to launch such technologies which are best both for human and the world’s environment. And for this, a lot of projects are already in queue from the different nations of the world (See our other article named Wearable Technology and E-Textile)

Why Smart Materials in Textile are Crucial For Environment

How Smart Materials in Textile are Crucial For Environment

The climate temperature of the world is going to increase every year. As per the experts, over past fifty years, the average global temperature is going upward at its fastest rate. And still experts are predicting that the trend is continuously accelerating. So, keeping in view, the recent climate situation, every sector of the life is striving their best to develop something productive to help the human being and environment. The contribution of smart textile and materials toward technology that offer the wearer increase functionality is slow but gradual. And the usage of smart materials based products is really high especially in military and defense and health care sector . Now, the smart textile is also striving to contribute something in clothing which offers cool-clothing to overcome the heat feeling.

Cooling Smart Materials Theme:

As described earlier, the research and development department of textile industry is continuously finding for the betterment of this industry. Moreover, they are not only seeking for better options but they are also focusing on cost effectiveness of the solution. The research and development department of Stanford University is right now focusing on climate issue. And they are extensively working on such plastic smart materials which cools the wearer. The motive of such cost effective solution is to save the energy. And as per the R&D people they are formulating such clothing smart materials which has the feature to keep the wearer cool in the hot climate. As per the Yi Cui (associate professor Stanford), If you can cool the person rather than the building where they work or live that will save energy.”

Plastic materials Clothing:

As per the R&D team, the plastic smart materials enable the wearer body to discharge the heat in various way. And this discharge will cause to reduce the temperature up to 04 degree Fahrenheit. So, the wearer will experience the coolant feeling as compare to cotton clothing. The integration of nanotechnology, chemistry and photonics which provides polythene properties of the clingy plastic which is normally use as kitchen wraps. Moreover, this solid (but see through) materials also allow thermal radiation, water and air to pass through. Since it has the features of polyethylene food wrap, so the infrared radiation also goes through from it easily. The whole process of this development is really challenging and difficult. But the research team is tackling each and every step very effectively and diligently.

At start of this research work, the researchers revealed an alternative of polyethylene that is normally used in batteries. The said smart materials (specific nanostructure) has the same characteristics like dense to light and transparent to infrared radiation which allow heat escape from body. Moreover, the treatment with bengin chemicals has modified the polyethylene with added features to let water vapor molecules that evaporate through the nano pores in the plastic. The initial experiment output was the development of single-sheet material that complied with the three standard criteria for cooling fabric. The research team is continuously working on this theme and trying to make it more versatile. And the versatility in materials will be like adding more colors options, texture and other cloth characteristics in the material.