These are extraordinary and challenging times, the fashion and apparel industry that has been under duress for some time now, we are going to see some challenging times ahead.
But our industry has always turned things around and very quick to adapt to change, the lockdown has surely opened up new horizons, new blueprints for the business.
I foresee a very cautious ordering and will probably be more close to the market, brands will start building their businesses around core lines which would be safe to sell and easy to manufacture.
We will see a lot of emotional backlash on Chinese products which should be turned into an opportunity by Indian manufacturers, Japan has already allocated huge resources for developing local manufacturing, India should take a cue from this and go local. India should be doing what China had done earlier, by becoming a contract manufacturer to the world.
Indian manufacturers have not focused on outerwear and sportswear might be good to look at these products. There will be traction here, which might be good for textile companies to look at poly blend fabrics that suit these lines. Indian manufacturing has been more centric towards tops and bottoms; by adding this to our portfolio we will be busy throughout the year.
Large manufacturing facilities might have to look at multi-product manufacturing now, which might be difficult or you need to look for new businesses, your existing clientele would not be able to get you to full capacity, this is the time for most companies to look for new businesses and also have a good and healthy mix of Export and Domestic business. It is going to be a mixed bag and one needs to innovate to be ahead in the game.
Social distancing and frequent lockdowns are going to be part of our lives for a while now, as the Pandemic is far from over. Brick & Mortar retail will be slow while price and value will be a key factor in determining the ticket size of your shopping basket. I see traction coming in at leisure clothing, loungewear, home furnishing, home décor, gaming, and home entertainment industry.
Tailored clothing will see a focus on core and NOOS lines, the focus would be to balance your ordering. I see us progressing with collaborations with Textile Manufacturers & Apparel Manufacturers, this is going to be the way forward, partnerships have to be made to move forward with transparency in prices. The pain points which most supply chain managers face will be the order quantities, but with micromanagement of production one should overcome this and realistic forecasting and ordering systems will have to be in place. Past data is not going to be of much help now, most of us will be watched very closely by business owners and the finance teams.
Seasonal buys have to stop, we need to be frugal in our trade shows as well, virtual buying will become a reality now for most retailers and the brand’s product team would have to play an important role in helping franchises through this tough time. As we all know learning is the easier part while to unlearn is the tough one. I suggest brands to follow the monthly drop system and reinvent the supply chain calendar with these changes incorporated. Most eCommerce companies follow this model and I am sure most brands will start focusing more on online sales.
Product Categories as I mentioned earlier will change with flexible working and work from home becoming the new norm, you will focus on the work from home attire. We will have to adapt to new things and our industry will be the first to make the change and quick to adapt.
Our industry is made up of very resourceful people, who have thrived during tough times and have shaped many successful businesses. Most major design houses built their brands post the World War, this time is about bringing creativity, innovating and austerity together. The time with yourself in isolation will do you good when you can idealize and reinvent the Supply Chain Wheel.
I see a lot of challenges and lot of positives, the one who innovates and adapts fastest to the change will survive.