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The reinvention of supply chain through sustainability and how to achieve it

The resilience of fashion brands depends on the promotion of sustainable supply systems. Find out the role of sustainability in the supply chain reinvention.

The reinvention of supply chain through sustainability and how to achieve it

The global pandemic has been a great challenge for the fashion industry. A relevant fact that has accelerated the transformation of the supply systems due to the unexpected events caused by the transfer of its activity, interruptions in production and changes in customer demand. While the purchasing departments make the corresponding modifications to save production from the current crisis, Knowing the opportunities that sustainability creates will be essential to reinvent the supply chain and increase the resilience of fashion brands in the long term.

What processes can ease the adjustment of the textile sector supply systems to the new scenario?

  • Risk analysis throughout the supply chain. It will allow the identification of communication flows throughout the entire network and will increase the response speed at any level. By locating critical points in the supply, studying possible events and defining a strategy applicable in the short term, performance can be evaluated through monitoring indicators.
  • Real-time visibility. Technologies based on prediction and the use of real-time data will facilitate obtaining a full picture of the supply chain, enabling the synchronization between supply and demand with its consequent reduction in costs and risks.
  • Agility. The emergence of adverse circumstances has made it clear that textile supply chains must be treated as flexible systems. Developing a protocol that anticipates the risks derived from different scenarios will improve the agility and anticipation of companies in times of uncertainty and instability.
  • Review of strategic priorities. Companies should review their relationship with suppliers based on their priorities for each supply category. Establishing an order of preferences will allow the business to define a clear direction and improve productivity.

Taking these factors into account is essential to ensure that all efforts are made in order to achieve a more sustainable management of supply chains as well as a contingency-proof system.

As we pointed out in the analysis of the state of the fashion supply chain, supply models can become a lever for change as a result of new challenges. The threats that emerged during 2020 have highlighted the need to adapt value chains in order to make them more resilient. In this way, sustainability becomes an essential element to articulate the supply chain.

Through what systems can sustainability take part in supply performance?

  • Supplier Evaluation. This process measures the ability of the supplier to meet the expectations of the company, as well as to supply the required products or services. Establishing sustainable requirements will allow brands to know who meets these conditions before hiring their services. This system saves time when hiring a specific supplier, as well as reduces risks, costs and maximizes quality.
  • Suppliers verification. During the last decades, production has been outsourced to countries where the laws are not restrictive enough and where workers don’t have proper labor protection. This situation has made it necessary to have an effective system for the verification of suppliers and outsourcing, in order to prevent irreversible social and environmental impacts and improve their performance. A system that allows creating transparency, value and long-term positive impact.
  • Management system certifications. These are voluntary international standards, mostly granted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Nowadays, it’s worth highlighting the existence of the ISO 20400 Certification, which guarantees a brand’s commitment to sustainable purchasing management. The main objective of this certification is the management of risk and opportunities in environmental, social and economic development areas. A standard that seeks, through proactivity, to improve productivity, promoting innovation and allowing communication between buyers, suppliers and all interested parties.

Beyond its direct activity, the fashion industry therefore has multiple opportunities to innovate, minimize risks and generate a positive impact through the construction of sustainable and resilient supply chains. Ongoing supervision will be key in this process:

  • Detect risks. Calculate a risk index through the analysis of risks of different categories: environmental, social and economic impact.
  • Identify gaps. Detect those areas that are not covered by the management systems to recognize the weaknesses of the supply chains.
  • Develop action protocols. In order to prevent a certain situation or give an agile response to ease its consequences.
  • Test the action protocols. Carry out a simulation of the protocols that allows evaluating their effectiveness in different scenarios (climatic risks, violation of human rights, etc.).
  • Build capacity. Define a detailed action plan to improve the company’s sustainable management capacity based on its priorities.

​​BCOME‘s technology enables brands in the textile sector to take control through planning and management tools, in order to build responsible supply systems and ensure transparency throughout the value chain. Do you want to reinvent your supply chain through sustainability? Contact us!

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