Fashion Forward: How to Innovate and Differentiate in 2018

Amar Kulkarni
By: Amar Kulkarni
Date: April 09, 2018

As designers and fashion houses prepare to show off their new collections, how they’re innovating, and what deserves attention this season, the operations teams are doing the same thing behind the scenes. The fashion industry continues to grow due to new brands emerging as well as globalization, breaking down market boundaries and requiring organizations to implement strategies that help them use data to remain competitive, build customer loyalty and stand out to consumers. Looking for differentiation in the fashion industry? Here are some strategies to consider:

Leverage data to identify patterns and predict future user behaviors
Data is important when it comes to predicting the hottest fashion trends, but retailers and fashion houses are just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to using data for making smarter decisions. Being able to analyze local shopping patterns and geographic information can help predict what items to design, stock and order. Predictive analytics have been a big talking point for the last few years, but as the technology reaches the hype, now is the time to find an analytics software that fits your business needs and can empower fashion creativity.

Have a plan for addressing the age of experience
Today’s consumers are seeking personal experiences with their brands, requiring retailers to respond by letting consumers participate in the process and tailor products to their own specifications. This requires a great deal of flexibility in operations and technology to support mass customizations. New industry-specific ERP technology allows for manufacturers to run smaller production batches with shorter product life cycles, while still being profitable.

Foster collaboration and real-time access to systems and information
Fashion manufacturing typically involves multiple business functions along the supply chain, and with new advancements in technology, participants can be located anywhere around the globe. 2017 saw a great deal of damage from hurricanes including Maria, Harvey and Irma. This led to disruptions along supply chains due to infrastructure damage and transportation challenges. Having real-time insights to any delays or disasters along your chain can provide the time to adjust to lessen the impact and reduce downtime and back orders.

Investing in modern, connected systems that provide predictive analytics, the ability to deliver personalized experiences for customers, and collaboration across the entire supply chain can create sustainable systems that keep companies trendy and able to get products to customers in the right place, at the right time and at the right cost. Fashion is one of the most dynamic businesses, requiring a strategic plan that encompasses product lifecycle, seasonality, order fulfillment, inventory, and supply chain management to address the needs of consumers and propel the business forward.

Amar Kulkarni is vice president of Manufacturing at Avaap. He works with leading fashion organization to implement Infor M3, PLM, SCE and other Infor software solutions to make their technology and business strategies succeed.

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