The report is the result of an industry wide research and interviews with leading companies such as Levi’s, Foot Locker, Adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters and VF. The study identifies and discusses eight key developments from a supply chain management perspective, from within the European fashion and lifestyle sector.

  • First, overall growth in retailing will come more and more from online retailing and less from physical stores alone. Cross Channel retailing, a hybrid between online and physical stores, will require greater and more cost effective supply chain management.
  • Second, strong growth opportunities in new geographic markets (Russia, Turkey) will require a different supply chain strategy to that of more developed markets in Western Europe.
  • Third, greater visibility within the supply chain will enable companies to make more informed business decisions related to routing, pick/pack and postponement decisions for key customers and markets.
  • Fourth, the ability to take new products to market faster than the competition requires speed and flexibility. Key is having an agile supply chain to support the business model to take advantage of opportunities and respond quickly.
  • Fifth, in reducing time to market it is equally important to look at the total time to market cycle, which includes the design and manufacturing phase. Near-sourcing closer to key markets is increasingly being explored as traditional production sources in the Far East become more expensive. Using a better combination of transportation modes is another option to explore with regards to improving speed to market.
  • Sixth, moving the pick and pack process upstream to the point of origin allows orders to be picked/packed and shipped directly from source to key markets and/or customers, bypassing a European distribution warehouse.
  • Seventh, the hanging garment business in Europe seems to be on the decline from a logistics service offer perspective.
  • Finally, having an excellent organization open to innovation and change is key to migrating to a high speed end-to-end value chain. Horizontal and vertical collaboration in which the supply chain professional plays an integral role is vital in this journey of change in which the future supply chain plays a more strategic role.

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