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Classic Apparel Industry Supply Chain

Page history last edited by sue@... 14 years, 8 months ago

(for more information about AAPN please go to their website at www.aapnetwork.net)


PAST – The Yellow Brick Road Now Takes you Somewhere ….. Back


Here is a famous flow chart, developed in 1995, showing the production of a $40 pair of twill trousers with every step from the cotton field to the retail store excruciatingly documented. But its wrong now.


While today the pants may still retail for $40 (or likely less), every step has been changed. In fact, if you cut out ALL the steps and merely show the pants all by themselves, you have the NEW flow chart – go to China, get pants.


Here are several aspects of the chart missing:


1. Despite being written the year after NAFTA passed, the chart doesn’t mention it – no borders

2. Yarn, textiles, apparel and retail, the four color coded industries shown, are wildly different industries, fiercely independent from one another. Except for AAPN meetings, these producers tend to meet with one another, have their own magazines, trade shows, lobbies and associations.

3. These industries know next to nothing about industries on either side of them.

4. Finance is not shown even though the flow of goods one direction and the flow of money the other are intrinsically intertwined, hopefully.

5. Technology is now shown even though, without it, replenishment, among many other profit generating things, is impossible. This tracks to Barbara Zeins (Gerson & Gerson) speech “The Tyranny of Technology (in this industry)”

6. Replenishment, out-of-stocks, mark downs and other realities, which were supposed to go away in 1985 when VICS was announced, still exist today.

7. Yarn is not highlighted as a primary source of much of the innovation and resulting product differentiation retailers and brands actively seek.

8. Textiles does not mention that there is, today, virtually no woven fabric, other than denim and twill, in this hemisphere.

9. Trim is not shown at all even though, by and large, it is trim that jeopardizes cycle times. As they say in USAF Survival School, “it ain’t the lion (fabric) and tiger (logistics) that kill you in the jungle, it’s the mosquitoes (trim)

10. Of course, merchandising, product development, design and others typically centralized steps are not shown, nor is sourcing, accounting or systems, which represents today what most retailers still do

11. And finally, the cut/sew producer is shown as a sort of automan – stuff comes in by truck, stuff goes out by truck. Yet, it is the producer who has been trapped, for years, between giant retailers who want small orders, quickly, perpetually and textile producers who want massive orders with long lead times infrequently. Also missing is the quantification of producers into a virtual Rubik’s Cube of variations – low to hi volume, fashion to basics, CMT to package, fast to slow, close to far, strong to whatever.

12. The biggest “brand” is private equity


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