The digital transformation of the textile production chain: the revolutionary power of the collaborative platform

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What will the supply chain of tomorrow look like? In the midst of the supply crisis triggered by the Covid-19 epidemic, this question is becoming increasingly pressing. In the textile industry, which is traditionally very manual and segmented, it is even more pressing. According to a recent BCG report, brands that have taken the plunge into digitalization are already seeing the competitive advantages that this transition has brought them (BCG Global. 2021). For the others, it's not too late... Indeed, the supply chain is evolving and transforming, preceding the changes in mentality induced by the pandemic and the new consumer habits.

We are now entering a new era of digitalization, a new 4.0 shift. Technologies are no longer used only to reduce costs and increase revenues by optimizing a given production process. Now, it seems that a new approach to digitalization is about to emerge: collaborative and integrated platforms, which will replace individual software (Comarketing. 2021). But what will this platform look like? Which functionalities will be real game changers for a transparent, efficient and optimized production follow-up? In this article, we will discuss three features that will revolutionize the textile production experience.

Feature #1: Centralized data management

Did you know: on average, teams spend 54% of their time searching for and/or transmitting information (Finkel, 2018)?

So what product manager or procurement manager hasn't dreamed, one day, of only having to click a tab to see their entire production data and delivery statuses? As fashion brands are now forced to collect and centralize more and more data from various sources - production, consumption, sales... - access to a tool capable of processing a significant volume of data while centralizing it is a major competitive advantage.

Indeed, a brand's inability to manage its data is a hindrance to its agility, its ability to respond to customer expectations and to follow new trends. "As decision-makers continue to manage uncertainty, the most successful [brands] will be those that are able to grasp the trends shaping the fashion landscape." (McKinsey&Company, 2021).

What the platform allows is to automate and streamline workflows in order to obtain an overview that is essential for production management. Data is available to everyone, anytime, anywhere.

Feature #2: Transparency

Capturing and then centralizing its production data flow is now a vital step for brands and their partners - from suppliers to distributors, workshops and weavers. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, it helps develop a culture of transparency between supply chain actors. In addition to creating user experiences that drive engagement, data transparency enables employees to make decisions based not on predictions but on reliable data acquired in real time. The platform also acts as a transparent digital brick for monitoring and complying with all known and unknown standards and laws: AGEC law, environmental rating etc. The result? Unprecedented time and cost savings.

Of course, data sharing is important. But users of a collaborative platform must be able to sort and select the data that is most relevant to them. The idea is not to be overwhelmed by too much data, but rather to be able to sort out the data that is the most relevant to them. Only collaborative platforms capable of developing such a filter will have a real competitive advantage.

Feature #3: Real-time information accessibility

Today more than ever, time is a major competitive variable. Real time", induced by digitalization, allows total control over data and processes. The result?  Increased reactivity. Teams can work more efficiently and make quick, optimized and collaborative decisions. There is no need to insist at length on the importance of such a functionality: real time allows the different actors of the production chain to effectively communicate their needs in order to act positively to reduce costs but also to improve the agility of the said supply chain and its productivity.

In conclusion of the presentation of these three complementary functionalities - but not exhaustive! -collaborative and digital platforms represent the future of production management. They offer numerous and varied potential gains depending on the features used: resource management, component circularity, etc. With their development, based on feedback from brands, suppliers, weavers and workshops, they will be the key to providing immense competitive power on the market.

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