Incorporating product development through to store operations and everything in-between, the supply chain and it’s information systems have become increasingly important in fashion retail as “fast fashion” become the dominant equines model. Starting with a brief introduction of the fashion industry the goal of this paper Is to outline the role of CIT In supply chain management within the fashion industry exemplified by the retail brand Ezra and the growth of “fast fashion”. 1 org the implemented and potential use of CIT in supply chain from product research and development through to marketing and sales.
With particular attention on logistics and distribution and the continued increasing speed of production we will examine what exists and the potential for improvements paying particular to the growth of Radio Frequency Identification (RIFF) and its impact on the retail and clothing industry. In the mid-19th century the first major change in the production of clothing took place as technology facilitated the movement away from home made fashion. Often referred to as the ‘father of fashion’, Charles Worth was a successful, independent designer known best for his great contributions to dressmaking in the fashion world.
Early dressmakers like Worth saw big opportunities in the design and production of fashion on a much larger scale which was greatly enhanced with technological innovations like the sewing machine, global capitalism and the first appearances of department stores. The change in production during the 19th century saw clothing being mass produced in standard sizes and sold at fixed prices and from its humble beginnings as a domestic necessity, fashion expanded into a major enterprise. The fashion industry is now truly global with clothes often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold worldwide.
This international nature of the industry has produced four distinct levels with cost and time efficiencies appearing through the timely management of the stages worldwide. The first level is the production of the raw materials needed to make the clothes, principally textiles, leather and furs. Then these raw materials are made into clothing by designers, manufactures and contractors. After, the clothes are then distributed and sold to retailers who, in the final stage, use various forms of advertising and promotion to market the fashions.
These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors, all of which aim to profit from the consumer demand for apparel. Supply chain activities can be broken down into two key interrelated systems; Physical flow and Information flow. Starting with the raw materials and ending with a customer purchase the continual flow of physical product at different stages is easily identifiable. In contrast the flow of information must start with the end use consumer and then flows up-stream and the ability to turn this information source into profit is where true competitive advantage can be achieved. See fig. 1) Since the sass’s and the information revolution, man’s ability to transfer information has continued to grow not only more efficient but also more important. With the growth of e-commerce ND electronic data interchange supplying a constantly updated information supply, being able to profit from information has been key to successful business practice. Originally exemplified by Wall-Mart’s ability to send and receive sales and supply information automatically, communication development, facilitated by services like the internet, has gone on to open up a worldwide market for many industries.
This ability to transfer information instantaneously has given birth to a new generation of increasingly even customers are all connected. In the high-street retail market, fast suasion is the current key to success where the speed of fashion trends means a more disposable clothing culture is emerging where low cost and a quick product lifestyle are vital to successful sales. With such demands from the end use consumer and with instantaneous information at hand, an increasingly important emphasis is being placed on supply chain management efficiencies.
Fig: 1 Supply Chain Management and Ezra undergone one of the most rapid global expansions the fashion world has ever seen. The first store was opened in Spain in 1975 and by 1980 the chain began to expand internationally, opening stores in the US and France by 1989. The asses saw an increase in its international expansion, and the store is set to enter the Australian market this year. This fast fashion’ concept at Ezra contrasts the asses in which many retailers sought to maintain competitive advantage by focusing on price, and as a result outsourced to low cost places like the Middle East.