The Future is Now: How Supply Chain Automation Disrupts Retail and Fashion

May 29, 2018

Technology is reimagining traditional retail and fashion industry supply chains. Even as fashion retail is still reeling from the immense changes e-commerce platforms made on the industry, new innovations are breaking ground in supply chain management. Supply chain automation could be the answer to what ails retail – long supply processes, delays from concept to market, and slow implementation of the latest trends. Learn why adopting supply chain automation will allow certain retail organizations to lead the charge into the future.

Graduate to Fast Fashion

Fashion is an extremely fast-moving industry. Customers, especially those in the sought-after 18-25 age group, are always seeking what’s “new,” “hot,” or “trending.” Staying at the forefront of retail and fashion takes a culture of flexibility and adaptation throughout your business model. Meeting the needs of the “fashion on demand” shopping era will involve making some major changes to current business models – namely, to the supply chain, since the difference between success and failure depends on how fast a retailer can go from concept to store shelves. Automating current supply chain operations is one of the most efficient ways to join the fast fashion movement.

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Digitalization of the supply chain is the third-biggest challenge fashion companies will face in 2018, according to a McKinsey State of Fashion report. It’s also one of the most important endeavors if a retail company wants to stay relevant (and in business). Successfully digitizing or automating supply chain operations will boost a forward-thinking company’s ability to compete in its particular niche by shortening the timeline between the runway and the market. Automation will cut production wait-times, increase productivity, and eliminate costly delays with an enterprise upgrade.

Get more information on how to reduce costs through automated technology when you download our free guide to effectively streamlining your landside container  logistics.

React to New Information in a Flash

An automated supply chain system can give a brand the gift of flexible reaction time by allowing it to obtain and analyze information rapidly. For example, say the consumer demand for one of its items spiked overnight from a wildly successful marketing campaign or key influencer placement. This is a good problem to have, but only if the brand is prepared to adapt to the new demand for its product and dynamically alter its logistics flows to fill store shelves. Otherwise, it will lack supply, disappoint consumers, miss out on a great opportunity, and damage the brand’s reputation.

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Automating the landside supply chain (and integrating directly into a transportation management system, or TMS) enables a smart shipper to worry less about tracking logistics data from ports, depots, rail lines and trucking companies. Instead, logistics managers and their internal business partners will focus more on leveraging real-time sales and customer data to inform future business decisions. The right automation solution will put the company in control of its supply chain data, helping it predict future needs and facilitate necessary changes to its current operations. Predictive decision making plus quick reaction time through automation can help a brand make more informed decisions about its business plan, as well as cut out unnecessary steps that may waste time. Supply chain automation can propel progressive shippers and their supply chain partners looking to stay ahead in the modern era in terms of data processing and adaptation.

Capitalize on Current Trends

Using technology to streamline the supply chain can help retail and fashion brands stay on top, despite short product lifecycles and unpredictable demand. As soon as a new trend hits the market, the supply chain can begin turning ideas into realities. Automation tools such as inventory management, new business models, and vertical integration will be invaluable in the near future as customers demand faster and more unique apparel products than ever before.

Cleaning up the backend processes is the only way to jump on the bandwagon of the fast fashion movement. A brand and its associated supply chain partners need supply chain automation solutions to become a retail or fashion company that survives the profound changes affecting this industry. Believing otherwise would be dismissive of the real, calculable transformation that has greatly impacted fashion retail in the last few years.

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Not moving fast enough in the fashion industry could force certain businesses to close their doors forever. Instead of being a beat behind, shippers and their supply chain partners must incorporate fluid, digitized supply chain automation processes that disrupt current operations and lay a foundation for the future. Real-time is too late...all stakeholders need predictive analytics to let them know where delays will happen BEFORE they happen.

Advent Intermodal helps organizations streamline their landside supply chain operations and achieve long-term goals as a brand in retail or fashion. Port terminal operators also benefit from Advent’s predictive availability and advance pre-gate features for pick-up appointments which increases freight velocity to support their retail and fashion brands. Learn more now about how predictive availability is accelerating the pace at which cargo moves through the landside supply chain.

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