Successful Adoption of Supply Chain Solutions - Strategies that Work

The apparel industry has undergone a massive shift in recent years, sparked primarily by the pandemic. More and more top brands have realized the importance of their supply chain processes, an area that historically has been negated. 


According to McKinsey, it is expected that by 2030, apparel brands will spend around 3% of their topline revenue on investment in technology to help create a competitive advantage. This spending covers a number of different areas including artificial intelligence and traceability, but also includes further digitization of supply chains to make them more resilient, and transparent. 


However, while there is growing need and interest in textile supply chain solutions, top brands need to understand that for successful adoption company wide and across different stakeholder groups requires a clear path, and several strategies that determine success in the long run. 


This article discusses several of these strategies that ultimately set up the brand for success. 


Strategies That Don’t Work 


One Size Fits All 

Many providers of apparel supply chain software offer standard solutions that map onto all their customers, i.e. one size fits all. In the long run, this is not a good strategy, especially for brands with more complicated supply chains. Each brand is unique in their specific processes and demands, meaning a standard solution that fits all simply wouldn’t be the right choice. 


Instead, research would be required to determine which provider offers the best product that maps onto the business needs and workflows. Secondly, research into what sort of customization is needed would also be helpful to find the solution that best fits that particular business. 


Rapid Implementation 

Rapid implementation can seem attractive: getting the solution across the company and into various suppliers all at once to reap the benefits as quickly as possible. However, more often than not, this strategy can lead to problems. 


Rapid implementation of textile supply chain solutions can lead to adoption problems, and stakeholder rejection. Rather, a step-by-step approach should be employed. The solution should be placed with a few vendors initially. Bugs and kinks in the process can be worked out as a result. 


Once this first step is complete, the brand can move to implementing the apparel supply chain solution across other vendors, eventually covering their entire vendor base. 


Cultural Resistance and Insensitivity to Suppliers 

Cultural resistance among stakeholders is one of the biggest challenges in the implementation of an apparel supply chain solution. Overcoming this obstacle requires clear communication from management, and increased employee education and awareness of the benefits that the technology would bring. 


Secondly, supplier relationships are also very important. Ensuring that the entire vendor base is aligned and willing to adopt the solution is vital. Many providers, like Triple Tree Solutions, assist with onboarding and training. This invaluable resource can make the difference for a successful adoption. 


Failing to Plan for Future Growth 

Another common mistake in digital adoptions is not planning for future growth. Brands must think ahead and be ready to respond to increased growth, and management must partner with a provider that can scale their technology with the company. 


Strategies That Work 


Tailored Solutions 

Customization is an indispensable component in the digitization process. Customized solutions can be designed to map directly onto a company’s particular workflows and requirements. This yields optimal performance and results. 


Finding the right solution provider that is willing to work with the brand to find a solution that maps onto their unique processes can make the difference in long term adoption. This process yields the best solution, a higher rate of efficiency, and more net benefits to the organization. 


Focus on Stakeholder Engagement 

As mentioned above, stakeholder education and engagement are vital for successful adoption of a textile supply chain solution. The right technology provider can help to streamline this process. This collaborative approach, where the brand, top management, and technology suppliers work in tandem, creates an environment where it is more likely that the solution will be adopted company wide. 


Gradual and Phased Implementation 

Taking a step-by-step approach with implementation reduces the risks associated with rapid adoption. A gradual and modular vendor implementation will provide an opportunity for continuous monitoring, adjustment, and refinement. This path not only avoids difficulties but also gives the brand the possibility to identify problems and course correct as they move from vendor to vendor. 


Ongoing Training and Support 

Regular training and assistance are crucial aspects of an effective digitization plan. The allocation of resources to upskill stakeholders is needed to ensure a smooth transition. Technology providers can also step in to ensure a smooth onboarding process. 


Key Takeaways 

Digitization is a growing trend in the apparel industry that is not likely to slow down anytime soon. While there is a clear need, and increasing interest, utilizing the correct strategies for adoption cannot be understated. 


Select strategies such as stakeholder engagement, gradual implementation, continuous training, and close cooperation are well documented approaches that have proven effective. Top brands must keep this in mind in order to put together a successful digitization strategy that in the long run will provide them with a competitive edge. 

Successful Adoption of Supply Chain Solutions - Strategies that Work
Triple Tree Solutions
Published 3 April 2024

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