The fashion industry is very complicated. There are no standard fashion companies. They come from a wide spectrum of enterprises working in the apparel, footwear, home textiles and accessories markets.
The industry is made up of various kinds of companies like retailers, design source and selling companies, companies with their own manufacturing facilities and other companies who outsource production but retain control over parts of the production process.
Moreover, companies functioning in the high fashion segment often face a different kind of pressure as compared to those functioning with commodity fashion goods.
All of these aspects combine to make the fashion industry one of the most complicated industry. Yet, various issues can be noticeably recognized as common across the industry.
. Consumers have the power
. Supply chains are complicated
. Product launching and delivery takes time
. Companies must be able to manage a product mix
. Inventory control maintenance is important
. Impact of the latest technology on the fashion industry
. Copyright issues for fashion designs
Consumers have more power
Today’s buyers have more purchasing power then ever before and are less tolerant due to increased time pressure in today’s lifestyles.
They are more aware about environmental and human rights issues and have superior quality demands. They demand a huge variety and more frequent changes in the choices available to them. Moreover, they also expect immediate availability of perfect matching set of garments and accessories in their preferred color and size combinations in the same store.
In terms of satisfying the consumer’s needs, retailers are the first in line, but all companies in the supply chain are driven by the prerequisite to anticipate the expectations and requirements of their customers. From design to production and to the final sale, all members of the supply chain need to check that stores are stocked with the correct requirements when the consumer needs to buy!
The companies that are quick to respond to the consumer requirements are those that will remain profitable in an environment of rapid global competition and increasing material and operational costs.
Supply chains are complicated
The fashion industry is distinguished by global supply chains and complicated logistics. Labor and transportation costs often determine where production takes place and outsourcing of all or part of production is common. Companies throughout the industry have to deal with global sourcing problems and need to regularly evaluate their sourcing strategies.
Production work is often done across multiple places, which may be also located in different countries. Setting up of cutting, sewing, subcontracting and transportation, and the synchronization with raw material supply, is a very tedious process.
Product launching and delivery takes time
While working through the many pre production steps, including yarn or fabric selection, garment development, specification and sampling, the industry takes a long time to introduce a new product in the market.
Both, the complex nature of the supply chain and the global nature of production add to the industry’s long lead times. This arrangement of long time-to-market and long lead times does not correlate with the need to react immediately to changes in customers requirements.
The ever changing seasonal and trend driven nature of the industry depicts that the product life cycles are too short. Even for cyclic demands where the life cycle may continue further, there are often small changes to design, and color or size combinations may be changed. The logistics of managing the large number of styles and maintaining stock keeping units is a difficult practice.
Companies must manage a product mix
Besides long lead times, fashion producers are stressed to constantly design and develop new product lines to maintain retailers’ interest and increase consumer sales. Producers have noted that in order to maintain this speed, raised flexibility and quickness to satisfy changing customer demand, which is quicker than ever before, it is very challenging for them to judge or come out with such types of products. Gone are the days when a perfect fashion trend direction decided what consumers wore. At present, many styles are available, and with rising globalization, consumers can approach fashion news through latest media tools.