The fourth industrial revolution - also known as Industry 4.0 - has opened up the field of possibilities in many sectors. Thanks to automation and data analysis, it is now possible to connect production directly to the needs of the end customer.This is called production on demand. Applied to the fashion sector, Industry 4.0 enables the adoption of agile, just-in-time production cycles, to respond more quickly to the demand of the final consumer without having to face overstock issues..
In the traditional push system, the design and production of garments is a long process, lasting several weeks or even months. However, at a time when trends are rapidly evolving and are more often dictated by the consumer than by the retailer or the brands themselves, it seems more beneficial to adapt production to the desires of the end customer. This model is the pull system : demand is no longer "pushed" on the consumer based on forecasts, but "pulled" by his choices. Moreover, in on-demand production, supply, production and distribution are digitized and optimized in order to be able to respond in an agile and flexible way to real demand. The reduction in lead times that results from this mode of production is a key factor in the competitive advantage of brands.
In terms of sourcing and production, this increased need for responsiveness, traceability and transparency is an exceptional opportunity to implement a relocation of production.The decrease in large imports and the investment of brands in digitalization, robotization and interconnection - thanks to an ecosystem of all actors of the textile chain (including workshops) -, leads to a decrease in stocks as well as a enhanced flexibility and agility. By betting on shorter execution cycles and real-time production splitting, brands reduce the uncertainty of demand and eliminate the financial burden of overstocking... parts are only replenished once consumed.
The complete automation of the production chain allows to scale in creativity while improving the reliability of the process and the quality of the finished product. Digitalization allows the creation of a production ecosystem that brings together all the essential actors in the chain.
In practical terms, with a digital production order launched by the brands on Monday morning and the finished garment arriving in the warehouses on Friday, on-demand production offers a new agility, a key element in the competitive strategy of brands.
The customer is at the center of the creation process, which is now correlated to real, not forecasted, needs. In addition, brands are producing pieces because they have been sold, not to try to sell them.
Finally, in this relocalized and digitalized system, the focus is no longer on the input margin but on the exit margin. It is the latter that allows the evaluation of the true performance of on-demand production. It is more profitable to buy two to four times more expensive a garment that we are sure to sell, rather than continuing to push production based on bets on the other side of the world.
A garment sold at the right price, without discounts or overstock, is a guarantee of unmatched financial profitability for brands... and for the planet! Because if on-demand production revolutionizes processes, it also allows for a much more sustainable approach. responsible and sustainable of textile production. As each garment is sold, brands are not confronted with the problems of recycling and upcycling. Also, the production on demand in Made in France allows a relocation of know-how, a vital social issue for a healthy European economic fabric.
In short, this production model is meant to become an essential part of the textile supply chain. By all the advantages it confers, but also in view of the urgency of the depletion of resources, it allows a flexible transition towards a creative and competitive European textile industry.