LEAD TIME IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY

“Now or never” and immediate satisfaction are the new consumer philosophies. More than ever, when we are shopping fashion online, we want to receive the purchased garment as quickly as possible. Don’t lie to us, you are not an exception, so don’t let us think that you can wait more than a week without being eager to use your new fashion item.

In fact, according to the Business of Fashion & Mc Kensey Company, in 2018 American Amazon’s customers expected to have their purchase delivered in 1 day instead of 9 as was the case in 1995. In order to be able to follow this new customers’ “need”, brands must adapt and reduce as much as possible their lead time.

So, what is lead time?

Why should brands reduce it?

To be able to meet consumers’ expectations, fashion brands are obliged to follow or get inspired by the Fast Fashion business model, which implies high speed of product availability and subsequently translates into a great turnover of collections. This new way to consume, which is often for a lower price and without the expectation that the client will keep the items for a long time, changed the psychology of customers. We are not patient anymore, and any risk of absence of immediate satisfaction is demotivating to the point that we may choose not to buy; even for non-fast-fashion brands the expectation is instant shipment, and as they say, « the customer is the king », right?

In any case, to stay competitive brands must reduce their lead time. This could actually be very advantageous to them. By reducing and by improving their supply chain, fashion labels can produce their collections more closely in line with the existing demand and their customer’s special expectations. By adapting their offer to their clientele their overstocks will decrease, which will make their financial teams very happy. However, this does not happen without efforts: in order to maintain delivery speed and product quality, supply chain management and optimization is necessary.

Lead-time and supply chain.

To optimize their supply chain, businesses have to make relevant decisions to the material flow, design flow, information flow and cash flow as these are all related and impacting each other : decreasing the « waiting time » between the different processes is only possible if all information is accessible to the different teams, materials and accessories arrive at the right time, and being paid at the right time.

Let’s see how we can reduce the time needed for the information and the design flow in the supply chain in order to decrease the lead time in the fashion industry!

How to reduce the information flow?

Cutting edge software assumes an important role in facing those difficulties. Let’s see how they work.

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a software used by companies to manage their daily activities such as the accounting part, buying, project management and supply chain’s operations.
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the tools and methods used to automate procurement to reduce inventory and delivery times.
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software compiles all product data in a single, real-time updated repository to optimize product creation, tasks, stock and process management at every stage of the product life cycle.

Information tools are critical, they permit the centralization of all information to optimize a business capability. Using PLM is a great advantage for fashion brands as it condensates all relative data in a single secure place. All the teams are able to access the right information at the right time which is a great time saver.

How to reduce the design flow?

Having the idea of a new design for a garment is great, but after the concept is born (so the sketch), fashion brands must visualize the product and validate it or need to go back to work on it again. This process can take a lot of time depending on the number of cycles required prior to validation, as the prototype has to be created in the factory and then sent to the headquarters where the decision of approval for fabrication will be made. If at the first try the garment is validated, the production can start, but, most often than not this has not been the case. In a world where fashion brands have to follow trends faster than never, we think, at Eva Engines that this process is now obsolete!

That is why we created Eva Generate. A new platform which allows you to generate in 2D your sketch in less than 60s thanks to generative artificial intelligence! To know more about our product, I invite you to go on our website (click here).

Sources:

  • AĆIMOVIĆ, S., M. MIJUŠKOVIĆ, V. and STEVANOVIĆ, I., 2017. THE ROLE OF LEAD-TIME CONCEPT IN MANAGING THE FASHION SUPPLY CHAINS. [ebook] EKONOMSKE IDEJE I PRAKSA.Available at: <http://www.ekof.bg.ac.rs/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Rad-03-Acimovic-Mijuskovic-Stevanovic1.pdf> [Accessed 13 May 2021].
  • The State of Fashion 2019. [ebook] The Business of Fashion, McKinsey&Company. Available at: <https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/retail/our%20insights/fashion%20on%20demand/the-state-of-fashion-2019.pdf> [Accessed 13 May 2021].

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