How important is the technology solutions sector for garment & apparel industry? What are the latest technological innovations taking place? What are the challenges faced?
Technology is an extremely important component for the successful running of any apparel company. Whether the business is in retail, a brand, trading or manufacturing, use of technology creates efficiencies and supports execution of business operations. The effective use of technologies helps apparel companies differentiate themselves and be more competitive.
The apparel industry can be a complex beast because of the nature of the product at hand. Businesses have to constantly deal with developing numerous products, in numerous variations, in numerous sizes for numerous markets. The situation is put under further pressure due to high competition, decreasing margins, tight time-lines and a fragmented supply chain. This leaves companies with little or no room for error in execution. It is here that robust information technology facilitates a common way-of-working across the organization and enables instant sharing of real-time information, as it is needed and as it changes. Companies that react quicker to changing business environments and manage development & production more efficiently will have higher profits and growth.
Apparel is traditionally a manual industry and highly people dependent but this is changing. Innovations are taking place from the development of physical product to software tools that help manage the entire process. Tech companies are providing innovative cloud platforms to help fashion businesses to better manage information both internally and with their supply chain. Virtual 3-D tools are now a reality where virtual sample prototypes can be created that reduce time & cost in physical sample development. Innovations around industrial equipment are enhancing efficiencies and quality of end products. Interesting innovations are even taking place on the consumer side where in-store 3-D body scanners use lasers to take body measurements of shoppers and suggest items that will be a good "fit". Crowd sourced designing where end customers design and vote on designs they like telling fashion producers what to develop. Exciting innovations are constant and taking place at all levels of the industry. All these innovations finally empower the end consumer with higher quality products, better prices and a lot more choice.
The challenges we face as a Cloud Computing Software provider to the fashion industry is educating the market on the use of technology and resistance to change. The apparel industry is undergoing a transformation in their understanding of how to effectively use information technology and leverage the Internet. Companies have started to think about new ways to improve their business. Companies that have been running their business in a particular way for years find it difficult to change their way of working. People fear change and we're helping the industry understand that embracing change and technology is what will enable them to become competitive and profitable.
Published on: 05/10/2012
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.