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Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Disruption: How PLM can Secure Business Continuity

As we all know, the last couple of weeks have been a tough ride for many industries due to Covid-19 – including the fashion industry. Concerns about delays and uncertainty have turned into an emerging financial crisis and fashion’s supply chain is experiencing disruptions due to the prominent decrease in demand and lacking cash flow.


This has unfortunately resulted in a shutdown of many factories around the globe, forcing companies to source from new suppliers – while having to operate with reduced remote product development teams and at the same time increase focus on e-commerce. The travel ban has not only shut down big parts of the retail industry but has also complicated the process of establishing new supplier partnerships, as factory visits and physical interaction is temporarily not an option.


So, choosing the right strategy and implementing new or redesigned practices to protect business continuity, is now a necessary and essential decision.


Accordingly, supplier collaboration and connecting the supply chain is more important than ever before. The challenges are clear but how can companies accommodate them? – let’s have a closer look.

Collaborating closely with suppliers

As a result of the travel ban, companies are struggling to connect with cross-border suppliers in an optimum manner, requiring an increased effort to maintain efficient communication, sample flows and quality control. A major challenge as supplier collaboration is more vital now than ever, in order for both fashion companies and suppliers to protect business continuity.


In times where our globalized business environments are working remotely due to the travel ban, companies must implement tools to work closely together with suppliers in order to ensure efficient sample flows, communication and quality control.


PLM solutions provide a platform for communication, data sharing of accurate tech packs between companies and suppliers - making it easy to maintain a successful supplier collaboration.


Ultimately, having a collaborative PLM solution will improve productivity, reduce risk of errors, duplicated work and cut costs.

Quickly establishing new supplier partnerships

The unfortunate reality of recent factory shutdowns means that companies may be forced to look for new sourcing possibilities. Also, the current travel ban could last for a long time, meaning that companies must also prepare for sourcing new manufacturers remotely.


Quickly establishing new supplier relationships, require a very structured and rigid way of handling collaborative processes and communicating tech packs.

A PLM solution will gather all product data, meaning that connecting with suppliers through the PLM will make it fast to align tech and negotiate pricing and order volumes. The PLM will streamline the work process reducing errors and improving time to market.

Accommodating a fast transition to e-commerce

Due to the shrinking retail market, companies must further accelerate the transition to online trading, through smoothly feeding e-commerce with accurate product data, marketing information and packaging specifications.


Brands that can accommodate the transition to e-commerce will improve time to market and be better suited to defend their market share.


PLM solutions collect product data, packaging specification and marketing product descriptions in a single platform. Information that can be quickly transferred to e-commerce to improve time-to-market and help push sales.

Managing rising air freight prices

Due to the cancellation of almost all passenger flights, many orders have to be shipped by cargo flights. These flights are in huge demand and prices are accordingly sky high.


Therefore, sample errors and shipment defects may become incredibly costly – emphasizing the importance of minimizing errors and misunderstandings.

PLM solutions can help companies to handle sample requests and shipment in close collaboration with suppliers. With a single source of truth, both suppliers and companies can always access ajour information, minimizing misunderstandings and shipment mistakes. With accurate tech packs and close supplier collaborations, companies can reduce the number of required samples, reducing the cost and risk of errors.


All this might seem like a lot of challenges to handle in an already uncertain business environment - but a cloud-based PLM solution can be quickly implemented, as existing product data can be set up and employees and suppliers are onboarded and educated in just a matter of days.


Seeing is believing - book a 30-minute consultation to see how a PLM can help your company.



Fashion's Supply Chain Disruptions: What You Need to Know. Business of Fashion
Coronavirus and Fashion - when will shops start running out of clothes. The Telegraph