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Fashion brands turn to technology to communicate with suppliers

Published
Mar 30, 2020
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Amid widespread restrictions on non-essential travel and severe trading disruption, fashion brands are resorting to technology to communicate with their suppliers.


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Design teams that would previously have travelled to factories in Asia and other regions to work on new product development are now facing the need to embrace technology to ensure continuity of supply.

Michelle Russell, apparel correspondent for GlobalData, said: “Buyers are now having to rethink how they work with manufacturers on orders and product design.”

A case in point is UK clothing and homewares retailer Next, which is considering new methods like video conferencing and asking manufacturers to send samples over. The process is helping recreate the face-to-face contact buyers and suppliers are used to have.

Software companies are also stepping in to help, particularly as the number of people working from home continues to rise.  

Tukatech, for example, is offering its CAD customers the opportunity to switch to a cloud license at no charge, allowing them to work from anywhere. And Centric Software has launched a series of quick-start, online collaboration packages designed to get brands, retailers and manufacturers working remotely.

The coronavirus pandemic has also caused significant disruption in the trade show sector, with many trade events being forced to cancel their plans to help stop the spread of the virus. But rather than admitting defeat, organisers are trialling virtual and other digital alternatives to keep the events going.

Michelle Russell of GlobalData continued: “Companies are now having to find new ways of staying in touch that they maybe haven’t considered previously. So having the right technology in place to enable a company to keep communication flowing across its supply chain has now become imperative if they want to remain operational.

“Next says it will come out of the process with the ability to communicate with potentially more manufacturers than it was previously, and this may be the case for many retailers and brands. They will inevitably find more efficient and cost effective ways of working once this pandemic is over and normal business is resumed.”

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