In today’s world of instant gratification and the need to get things as soon as possible, designing a supply chain that can handle the needs of consumers without exorbitant costs is essential to any new business. This is especially true for companies that rely on customization as their point of differentiation. Sarah Chessis, a former stockbroker turned entrepreneur, co-designed a software called Bespokify which enables consumers to order her custom clothing from her professional clothing company Bespoke & Co. The platform enables customers to input their measurements into the interface and produce designs that are immediately sent to the factory floor. The entire process to get an entirely customized professional outfit takes just 2 weeks. This is indicative of the new trend in the fashion world. That is, fashion is changing at an incredibly rapid pace and suppliers and manufacturers need to create a creative solution to keep up. This is a trend that was spearheaded by Zara, a popular clothing brand that is constantly restocking their shelves with the latest in fashion trends and often doesn’t offer the same designs for more than a few months. The newest trend is called “Click, Buy, and Make”. This means that producers don’t actually start production until after the consumer actually buys the product. This significantly reduces the costs associated with inventory holding costs and puts more strain on logistics and supply chain design.
Companies like Bespoke & Co. are forced to use a lot of the supply chain design and forecasting methods that we have learned in class to ensure their customers aren’t left waiting a long time for their products. Supply Chain strategy is defined as, “Designing a firm’s supply chain to meet the competitive priorities of the firm’s operations strategy”. In the case of the “Click, Buy, and Make” strategy, firms need to be able to rely on their manufacturers and suppliers to enable them to always have reliable access to the raw materials that they need to make any of their custom designs at any time. A good supply chain strategy will help alleviate costs and increase performance to ensure the firm is living up to their competitive advantage. Effectively managing supply chains in a highly customizable setting would require a significant amount of supply chain integration. A company like Bespoke & Co. could not possibly succeed if their supply chain resembled that of the our in-class donut example. The lack of communication would cause a nightmare for supply chain managers and inevitably create a bevy of backlogs and unhappy customers.
Another company that operates similarly to Bespoke & Co. is called Shoes of Prey which is a custom shoe company founded by Jodie Fox. Shoes of Prey struggled in their supply chain design because often times manufacturers require minimum orders of thousands of shoes and require months notice in order to deliver their orders. Her solution was to integrate her supply chain and open her own factory that was able to produce her custom designs in just a matter of weeks. She is heavily invested in technologies that can begin printing new shoe designs the second a consumer clicks buy.
Do any of you have experience with fast fashion? If so, what did you think? How do you think the focus on speed impacts quality of the product provided? Is there a better solution that could maximize their supply chain designs even further?