Supply Chain Management in Fashion Industry

Supply chain management is an important aspect of the business today. Generally this aspect deals with matching the demand and the supply using different chain strategies. One strategies of the supply chain management is the synchronous chain supply, also termed as Push-Pull strategy. This paper analyzes this strategy in terms of application to the fashion industry.

If accurately defining the supply chain management, it is “the integration of key business processes from end user to original suppliers that provides products, services, and information that add value for customers and other stakeholders.” (Daspal, 2008). Further, the synchronous chain supply as an integration of both pull and pull strategies imply that, the initial stages are done with the pull strategy and the last stages in the supply chain performed with pull strategy.

Fashion industry as business terms refer to “any product or market where there is the element of “style” that is likely to be short lived.” (Nakhata, 2008). In that sense, the fashion industry has quick changing demands due to the changes in fashion trends in which changes are unpredictable, thus creating certain difficulties to for the supply chain management. Speaking about Qatar in particular, it could be said that it does not differ in following the world fashion trends, where most of the world’s largest fashion companies have local branches, affiliates or representatives in Qatar.

In order to implement synchronous supply chain, a thorough analysis should be conducted on the level of uncertainly and variability presented in a certain sector. For a country like Qatar, where the climate is stable to a certain extent throughout the year, it can be said that there is no high uncertainty in the field of the textile trends during the year. Additionally, the division to Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter in Qatar imply only indoor clothing factor, excluding the accessories part. At the same time the colors and the variation of the models could be said to follow the world trends in that sense.

Accordingly, there are certain changes in products designs which require a quick response in order for new products to be marketed accordingly. Analyzing the case study of “Benetton”, an Italian casual apparel company, in 2004 Benetton began implementing its dual supply chain.(2006) The duality in that matter, is the implementation of Push and Pull strategy (Synchronous supply chain). “The dual supply chain helped Benetton offer new products to its customers on a continuous basis. The company was able to maintain the sales momentum even after the season by minimizing the time to market and offering products based on demand pull.” (2006). Benetton additionally, in order to remain successful in the competitive fashion business, “is planning to further enhance the demand-driven supply chain both internationally and nationally. (Zentes et al., 2007).

It can be seen that there is a possibility of implementing the synchronous supply chain in the fashion industry. Moreover, the implementation of such strategies will enable a faster reaction to customer’s and world trends demands, and accordingly provide proper marketing programs. As, “key success factors in the fashion apparel industry are often given as flexibility and responsiveness” (Nakhata, 2008), a close attention should be paid to respond accordingly to these factors, in order to remain competitive in the fashion industry.

References

(2006) Benetton’s ‘Dual Supply Chain’ System. Case Studies and Management Resources.

DASPAL, D. (2008) Apparel supply chain and its variants. Fibre2Fashion.

NAKHATA, C. (2008) Market-Driven Supply Chain Management: A Sustainable Competitive Strategy in the Fashion Apparel Industry. Executive Journal, 3/4, 39-44.

ZENTES, J., MORSCHETT, D. & SCHRAMM-KLEIN, H. (2007) “Strategic Retail Management – Text and International Cases”, Gabler Verlag.