My future desires

natific held a Blue-sky thinking event with the aim to challenge a tradition in the textile supply chain. Here is a recap of the most popular presentation of the day.

Anton Wilson – "My Future Desires"
Anton started his speech by questioning everything about quality inspections, coming down to:

“Is it possible to create a new paradigm for the entire Apparel Supply Chain, such that all the participants are aligned in their capabilities, awareness, contribution to, and ultimate satisfaction of the end consumer?“

Anton’s future desires were illustrated with inspiration from the movie “Four weddings and a Funeral”.

The different roles and actors:
Buyers: Importers, Brands and Retailers (Designers, Technical Design, Quality Assurance, Sourcing)
Makers: Mills, Factories, Laundries, Printers (any entity that modifies raw materials to complete the product)
Suppliers: All others who provide input for either Buyers or Makers (including Machinery companies, Trims & Label companies, Packaging providers, 3rd Party Providers)

The 1st wedding is between the Buyers and Makers. This wedding need to come together in a new, more transparent, end-customer satisfaction oriented business relationship. Where the customer is the most important link in all successful supply chains.

  • Makers need to monitor and track customer behaviour (WGSN, Stylesight and others)

  • Buyers need to share relevant Market data (lifestyle, demographics, spending patterns)

  • Makers anticipate trends and changes before receiving sample request, tech pack

  • Develop, pre-test materials, finishes, etc. from reliable partners

  • Faster, better style development, with quality

In the 2nd wedding, Buyers come together with other Buyers to standardize and simplify pre-qualification requirements for Makers, including safety, sustainability, quality, processes, capabilities and capacities. This to eliminate duplication of standards and insignificant differences, and to create a single set of grading criteria and provide an “open door” visibility to conditions monitored by third parties.

“When the Makers and Suppliers understand that no Buyer may use them unless they qualify under global norms for safety, quality, sustainability, social and legal behavior, regardless of price, the basis will exist for trust, transparency and collaboration in the Supply Chain.”

The 3rd wedding is a polygamous arrangement of ALL components of the Supply Chain. Working together to operate in a new “Meta-Vertical” style, dedicated to end customer satisfaction, quality, price, and delivery, and invest in success of the entire program execution. Where every product has a unique supplier community associated to it and the collective groups of Suppliers make up the greater Supplier community for each Maker.

All members of the Supplier community work together as if a single vertical organization and contribute input and insight to the success of the vertical organization. Every visit, every order is an opportunity to add value, based on successful evaluation, feedback and execution. Such as thread and dye providers evaluate machine performance and machinery technicians evaluate dye, thread performance.

  • All inputs and insights from the community drive preventative maintenance measures

  • Self-certifying

  • Partner monitored

  • Self correcting

  • Quality, safety, costs, training all optimized

  • Reduces/eliminates reactive correction practices

“When the entire Supply Chain operates with the end customer’s satisfaction as the goal (his/her wants and needs) and is aware of that each satisfied purchase creates both a demand and an expectation for the next purchase, then the entire Supply Chain is incented and empowered to self assure its quality.”

The 4th wedding is the alignment of Buyers and Makers Quality Assurance and the Product Development processes, to accelerate new products to market and to make sure that all members understand the quality required for customer satisfaction. The alignment is based on:

  • Joint review of internal and external process, tools, standards & training

  • Agreement on terms, usage, reporting

  • Expert to expert communication

  • Interim approval steps, robust pre-production reviews

  • Self conducted Final Approval before Production

  • Continuous process monitoring

  • Self correcting, self reporting

The objective is not just sample/style development, but also to demonstrate Vendor readiness for bulk production. With key features, details, functions identified and verified, and random production samples evaluated during the run of production.

“All parties engaged in product development need to understand that the objective is NOT only to show a single, perfect sample, but also to demonstrate full and complete understanding of the quality that will be delivered in each and every single unit of final production.”

Last, the funeral. “When the Supply Chain is completely aligned with the customer and all the components are aligned meta-vertically, with an end-to-end quality process, then garment inspections are no longer viable. Only to be resuscitated on an exception basis!”

Anton initiated his speech with a set of questions and ended it with the following:

  • Is all this possible?

  • Can it happen?

  • What role can you play?

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