ASBCI conference highlights the opportunities of a digital-first future for the UK fashion industry
Pure play retailers are benefiting most from the rapid growth of online shopping because their strategies are based on technology and they are focused on innovation, delegates at the ASBCI’s recent Digital Revolution conference were told.
Halifax, United Kingdom, 10 May 2018. The speed with which online-only retailers are testing and rolling out enhancements to the customer experience means they can rapidly evolve their offering to meet the changing needs and style tastes of consumers. Multi-channel retailers, on the other hand, have competing priorities for investment, but if they are to compete they need to invest in emerging technologies and prioritise mobile, the fastest growing shopping channel for today’s consumer.
As the ‘see now, buy now’ culture gathers pace, retailers also need to focus on getting products to market – and to consumers – faster than ever. Improved fulfilment options and delivery saver schemes can meet customer needs and increase order frequency, but they need to be backed up by supply chains that are more fluid and flexible than ever before. That means jettisoning traditional sourcing models in favour of more agile methods of production and bringing that production closer to home. It also means closer collaboration with suppliers and embracing technologies that can speed up product development so that design to delivery times more closely align with customer expectations.
Speakers at the conference emphasised the opportunities for UK businesses in the digital age and showcased some of the technologies that can help get them there. From PLM, augmented reality and voice assisted search to a new scientific approach to colour and innovative robotic production lines, the event covered the full breadth of the fashion supply chain from design to doorstep. But it is not just about technology. The overriding message of the day was clear: to survive in a digital-first future requires an agile mindset as well as agile processes. Throw out the old, embrace the new, and never stand still.
‘We are delighted with the success of the Digital Revolution conference,’ said Alistair Knox, ASBCI Chairman. ‘It was our best attended conference to date and we had to add additional spaces to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. The feedback from delegates so far has been fantastic. We hope to replicate this success with our next conference on athleisure in November and we will announce more details about this soon.’
The Digital Revolution conference was hosted by Dr Julie King, head of fashion for Northampton University and ASBCI event director, and was sponsored by Alvanon, Coats Group Plc and Advanced Supply Chain Group.
Please see the full conference review for speaker summaries and key quotes.
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About the ASBCI
The Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry is a not-for-profit UK-based organisation with a membership that represents all key sectors of the clothing and textile supply chain. Formed in 1973, it is the only forum of its kind where component suppliers and fabric producers can exchange ideas and knowledge with designers, retailers and garment cleaning specialists. It operates without commercial preference and its impartial stance makes it a unique organisation, within an intensely competitive industry, where members can meet, discuss issues and share their experiences – all together, at one time, in one place. Visit www.asbci.co.uk
About the sponsors
Alvanon was founded in 2001 when it developed a unique and innovative data-driven approach to solving the challenges of sizing and fit in the apparel industry. Now a global company operating in 89 counties, it uses the latest innovations and technologies to shape the future of fit, advising leading apparel organisations on how to align internal teams, processes and supply chains; more intimately engage existing and target customers; and innovate to optimise profitability and achieve growth objectives. It has a wealth of expertise across every key industry discipline including consumer analytics, concept and technical design, product development, manufacturing, quality, sourcing, planning, merchandising, distribution, marketing, e-commerce and professional development. Alvanon has attracted and nurtured top-tier data analysts, 3D modellers and apparel experts and has evolved into an innovations company reinventing the way fashion works. It operates from its head office in New York, European headquarters in London, and Asia office in Hong Kong with research, development and manufacturing facilities in Dongguan, China. www.alvanon.com
Coats is the world’s leading industrial thread manufacturer and a major player in the Americas textile crafts market. At home in some 50 countries, Coats employs 19,000 people across six continents. Revenues in 2017 were US$1.5bn. Coats’ pioneering history and innovative culture ensure the company leads the way around the world: providing complementary and value-added products and services to the apparel and footwear industries; applying innovative techniques to develop high technology Performance Materials threads and yarns in areas such as automotive, composites and fibre optics; and extending the crafts offer into new markets and online. Headquartered in the UK, Coats is a FTSE 250 listed company on the London Stock Exchange. It is the Official Thread Supplier to the Royal Shakespeare Company. www.coats.com
Advanced Supply Chain
Advanced Supply Chain Group offers a complete end-to-end supply chain service, from fulfilment to reverse logistics, value-added services, global logistics, and supply chain management that allows high street, online and omni-channel retailers and FMCG suppliers to enhance and maximise their services in today’s technology driven marketplace. It designs innovative business solutions, unlocks new opportunities and streamlines existing processes, resulting in reduced costs, improved speed to market and ensuring compliant stock is in the right place at the right time. www.advancedsupplychain.com