The apparel industry is one of the rising players globally, with a market value accounting for USD 948.2 billion in 2020. Further, the apparel manufacturing market size is expected to register a significant growth to USD 992 billion by 2021.
Consequently, as highlighted in the latest white paper by YCP Solidiance and Brother Machinery (Asia) Limited titled “Digital Transformation in Apparel Industry: How to Improve Efficiency in Apparel Factory Supply Chain”, digitalization is considered the key to advance this industry.
Current Challenges in the Apparel Industry
With its lagging advancement and the increasing amount of competition, the apparel sector has struggled to rule the industry. Despite its strong expertise in the industry and contributing factors, China cannot offer the cheapest sourcing choices for apparel factories across Asia.
Labor costs in the Asia market increase and heighten the pressure on apparel manufacturers to rethink their strategy to stay ahead of the business.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought significant impacts on the global apparel and textile sector, forcing many manufacturing factories to shut down. In early 2020, the coronavirus outbreak has gradually decreased the apparel industry function to 70% and cut the total sewing machine operating hours down to 27%.
How Digitalization Helps the Apparel Industry to Thrive
The white paper suggests digitalization across the apparel industry to address the previously mentioned problems, as several fashion brands’ retail businesses have used it.
Brands are the first ones to get the digitalization trend going as a cost-cutting approach. Fashion manufacturers took the current period as an opportunity to go digital, allowing the number of operating sewing machines in Asia to bounce back to 70% as of mid-2020.
Digital processes enable the apparel industry to maximize the data and improve manufacturing production efficiency through the integration of hardware and software.
Soon, apparel factories are most likely to apply integrated solutions to their overall supply chain. Integrated IoT systems have successfully increased apparel production by 5% and cut 88% of cost and time.
Digitalization is crucial in improving product planning and sales volumes, shortening lead times, setting up automated warehouses, and eliminating product shortages.
As digital transformation offers more innovations for the apparel industry, manufacturers should follow these steps:
- Understand the needs, as it is crucial to recognize the problem and find ways to address it through digital transformation.
- Do an initiative prioritization, be well aware of the needs and urgency, and ensure the solutions are feasible.
- Integrate IoT and data visualization to proceed with the data analysis process.
- Data analysis and action to understand what needed to be improved further.
Doing all the above steps will drive better improvement of the apparel industry and keep up with the changing business trends.