Map the Supply Chain
September 18, 2014
Dr. Michael McKinley
The supply map and the supply chain management consist of manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The marketing mix determines the product mix and the product mix helps the fashion designer to control the target market. The distributor of the finished garment later determines how the product would distribute throughout the department and discount stores. The target market will help the designer to assess the success of the garment. The selection of the garments plays a volatile role in the supply chain because without the right garment/raw materials the finished product may not result to the vision of the designer. “The fashion industry is characterized by short product life cycles, volatile and unpredictable demand, tremendous product variety, long and inflexible supply processes, and a complex supply chain.” (“The US fashion industry: A supply chain review,” 2008)
Map the Supply Chain
The link in the supply chain consists of the manufacturers, distributors and retailers. The supply chain within the fashion industry has four levels of productions. The production of raw materials, which falls under the manufacturer supply chain which determines the various materials that can be used to produce a fashion garment that is considerably admired by consumers and retailers. The production of raw material primarily contains the fabrics beginning with textiles (design and productions), once the design has been sketched, the designer then look for various fabrics, natural and synthetic fibres, leathers and furs. The additional levels of the fashion industry are the manufacturers, contractors and retailers (stores). These levels consist of many separate but interdependent sectors during each level of producing garments. Each level is devoted to the goal of satisfying consumer demand for apparel under conditions that enable participants in the industry to operate at a profit. “Although the fashion industry developed first in Europe and America, today it is an international and highly globalized industry, with clothing often designed in one country, manufactured in another, and sold in a third. For example, an American fashion company might source fabric in China and have the clothes manufactured in Vietnam, finished in Italy, and shipped to a warehouse in the United States for distribution to retail outlets internationally. The fashion industry has long been one of the largest employers in the United States, and it remains so in the 21st century.” (www.britannica.com) The manufacturing and fashion designers plans the product mix before sketching designs. Targeting males, females, children and babies are the typical product mix. The fashion designers are influential to the fashion industry from trend-setting to haute couture designs. The designers meet the needs of the customer’s demand; they typically get ideas from television, active wear, film, street styles and magazines. The designs are drawn and sketched before the designers select the garments/materials. “Some companies use their production facilities for some or all of the manufacturing process, but most rely on separately owned manufacturing firms or contractors to produce garments to the fashion company’s specifications.” (www.britannica.com) The distribution of the fashion/apparel industry consists of finishing, distribution, the relationship with the retailers, the breakdown on how the garments later distributed throughout their marketing mix and the final shipment to the malls, department and discount stores. The apparel segment of the assembled garment is the most labor-intensive segment within the supply chain. “The industry has also been in a transition over the last 20 years: significant consolidation in retail, majority of apparel manufacturing operations moving overseas and, more recently, increasing use of electronic commerce...
The US fashion industry: A supply chain review. (2008, February). Science Diet
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