The apparel industry remains to thrive, with the global manufacturing market value growing from USD 902,5 billion in 2019 to USD 948.2 billion in 2020.
To put it another way, it recorded a 5.1% increase – however, the industry is still lagging behind other sectors due to the need to manage the supply chain better.
Digitalization is an effective solution to address this issue, according to the latest white paper by YCP Solidiance alongside Brother Machinery (Asia) Limited titled “Digital Transformation in Apparel Industry: How to Improve Efficiency in Apparel Factory Supply Chain.”
As the global market size continuously grows, consumers’ demands also increasingly shift toward fast fashion.
This, of course, pushes apparel manufacturers to develop a cost-cutting method to produce more diverse products and improve the supply chain operation’s efficiency.
Yet, increasing labor costs across China and ASEAN countries hinder supply chain and factory operation flow.
The inefficiencies are worsened by the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many factories to shut down.
Further, the industry has lost around 70% of its functions and faced roughly a 27% drop in the total sewing machine operating hours.
How Digital Transformation Improves the Supply Chain
Technology advancements, hardware, and software are believed to integrate each stage of the apparel manufacturing supply chain.
Hardware technology developments, for instance, AI-driven cutting laser and a data-collective sewing machine.
This advancement in hardware systems will then be linked to software, resulting in maximum data optimization and increased production efficiency.
The first stage of production, pattern, and cutting require matching capability and cutting accuracy.
These processes were hard to do so, considering how time- and labor-consuming it was. Thus, digital transformation helps by providing real-time cutting data and improved pattern accuracy and on-screen image projection.
Automated sewing also advances the production process, not only by ensuring accuracy and quality but also reduces the labor costs.
The apparel industry, through digitalization, will be able to gather more useful data that enhances product planning and sales volumes, minimize production lead times, and develop a production framework.
Moreover, going digital offers faster stock transports to retail warehouses and fewer product shortfalls.
According to the research done by YCP Solidiance and Brother Machinery, it is found that digitalization enables apparel brands to reduce manual work to 88% time and cost cut and increase overall productivity by 5% through instant data collection and automatic calculation.
Digitalization is undoubtedly the key to advancing many business sectors, including the apparel industry.
However, before going digital, apparel brands should consider their needs to adopt digital transformation to resolve their problems. Only then will manufacturers be able to imply digital solutions for their prioritized issues.