Restarting Global Supply Chains in Fashion & Apparel

Line Art

In our latest Webinar, we sat down with a panel of industry leaders and discussed how, in a time of assumption-based decision making, S&OP process can enable a phased restart to supply chains to gain meaningful information on demand following this global disruption.

With all the uncertainty going on currently, everyone is asking what they can do after this pandemic is over in order to make a swift recovery. Without a clear picture of where items were in the S&OP process before things were halted, restarting a global supply chain seems like a daunting task.

In such a short amount of time, global supply chains went from a normal pace to zero, leaving a lot of goods, materials, and containers stranded everywhere. Fashion and apparel leaders have been taking on going assessments of what is going on in their supply chains, end to end.

As the coronavirus pandemic started to unfold, New Balance took a full assessment of how their suppliers are being affected, the status of all their orders, and even check on the status of their retailers’ needs. This ongoing assessment gives them a good view on where everything is in their S&OP process and enables them to make plan accordingly.

Once you have a good understanding of your full end to end supply chain, the big question planners are having is “what are you going to do with it?”

In fashion and apparel, there are a lot of purchase orders for very seasonal products. Planners need to ask if these products are still viable in future seasons and categorize orders into what is going to be canceled because current need is not going to be their for that seasonal product, and what products can be postponed and carried over seasons and when they will be released into the market place.

Planners need to also look at the canceled purchased orders where nothing was fully assembled yet and is just raw materials. If it is not going to be converted into its original form, looking to see if there is another form or fashion to uses that material in can cut costs and loss.

Meeting with leadership more frequently and gathering information at a higher detail than normal allows planners to make more credible decisions on how to react to this pandemic.

Historical data cannot be applied in this current situation, so what should be done in the short-term is a major concern for organizations. If you do not know anything about the past, and you do not know anything about the future, utilizing scenario planning can drive actions and decision that can be made during such uncertainty.

Collaboration between different departments allows organizations to start moving forward on a plan that they believe is going to work best off of the indicators that are coming in from all over the organization.

At the end of the day, even if the solution chosen isn’t right, it helps to collaborate and have all departments be on the same page in order to make decisions swiftly and react to the constant flow of information. Being able to make decisions and have more information available is more critical than trying to accurately predict what is going to happen in the future.

To hear a more in-depth discussion on this topic from industry leaders, check out our latest panel webinar Restarting Global Supply Chains in Fashion & Apparel. Topics that we focused on in the webinar are the agility in your supply, gathering information and making more frequent decisions, setting up short-term achievable goals, and supplier relationships.