From raw materials to final product: How full traceability works

Making decisions based on real knowledge, that is the goal of traceability in the fashion industry. Find out what it is and how you can use it to benefit your business.

From raw materials to final product: How full traceability works

Traceability is one of the new concepts that has emerged due to the popularity of sustainability in the fashion industry. The need to shed light on the supply chains of the textile sector places this task at the forefront, which is becoming increasingly essential when making business decisions. From the extraction of raw materials to the delivery of the final product, discover the keys to developing traceability in your value chain and how it can help your business obtain relevant data to promote more responsible solutions.

Traceability is the basis of the systemic change that the textile sector needs. Historically, fashion industry supply chains are among the most delocalized and complex in the world. A garment can easily go through more than 30 different processes jumping from one factory to another, involving multiple actors. The lack of visibility along this chain prevents companies from understanding the true social and environmental impact of their items and business practices.

The current collateral problems such as rising transport prices, container imbalances and rising energy and raw material prices are some of the causes that accentuate the crisis that the textile supply chain is currently experiencing. This fragmentation carries high environmental and social security risks in the fashion industry. We are facing a clear turning point where transparency and knowledge of the textile supply network has become a priority for the sector.

But before going into greater detail, let’s start by laying the foundations. What is traceability and why is it important to develop it to guarantee the optimal performance of your business?

The term traceability refers to the origin of raw materials, the record of the processes applied to the articles, the distribution and the location of the products after delivery. In order to define each of the processes and actors involved in the production chain, the traceability process is a long-term path that involves collaboration between the different agents in the supply chain.

Obtaining the information related to each of the stages of the product’s life cycle provides transparency and knowledge to identify which are the critical points on which priority action must be taken. Establishing the scope of your supply chain assessment will be the first step in defining the level of depth you want to achieve.

The different stages of the production processes are categorized into different scope levels:

  • Tier 1. Manufacturing. Cutting, sewing, assembly, and packaging factories where finished products are produced and shipped.
  • Tier 2. Wet process. Processing facilities in which processed materials are transformed into final fabrics.
  • Tier 3. Material process. Spinning mills and fiber processors where raw materials are transformed into fibers.
  • Tier 4. Raw material. Suppliers such as farms, livestock farms, plantations or any other raw material supplier.

To carry out the traceability of your supply chain as accurately as possible, once the scope you want to execute has been defined, these are the 8 key points to follow to guarantee the correct collection of information on your value chain: 

  • Draw your production line.
  • Make a list of recurring materials and their suppliers.
  • Name the suppliers in your value chain.
  • Classify suppliers by degree of scope.
  • Collect information from each supplier.
  • Make a logistics map of the value chain.
  • Identify non-localized processes or parties in the chain.
  • Plan for the long term.

At BCOME we are committed to transparency as the main driver of change in the fashion industry. Obtaining relevant information from each of the stages of the value chain is a very powerful tool to transform the way products are designed, produced, distributed and marketed. Our work always seeks to transform your products into knowledge that allows you to implement the best solutions to protect the planet, the people involved in each process and, above all, to guarantee the progress of your business. We want to be with you on this journey towards sustainability, shall we talk?

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