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Building Resilience and Value in Fashion’s Supply Chain

BoF's guide to transforming supply chains into a competitive advantage — understand market shifts, navigate pandemic and geopolitical challenges and lay the groundwork for a stronger future.

The Covid-19 pandemic and escalating global geopolitical tensions have precipitated an enormous human and economic catastrophe. No industry has been spared from the impacts. For the fashion industry, these disruptions have exposed and amplified longstanding supply chain challenges and weaknesses.

In this report, BoF Insights breaks down the underlying transformations impacting fashion’s supply chain and advises companies on how to future-proof their own supply chains in increasingly volatile world. Informed by 30 expert interviews and a proprietary executive survey, BoF Insights uncovers the flaws of attempting to solve for the supply chain “trilemma” — balancing speed, reliability and cost — and, instead, outlines an actionable set of value-creating initiatives to help companies transform their supply chains to a source of value.

Length: 82 pages
File Format: PDF

Table of Contents

  • The Increasing Strategic Relevance of Supply Chains
  • Vulnerabilities in Low-Cost Supply Chains
  • Upstream and Downstream Challenges
  • Fashion’s Exposure to Future Supply Chain Shocks
  • Case Study: Toyota’s Pioneering Lean Supply Chain
  • Five Secular Shifts Transforming Supply Chains
    • Accelerated Growth of E-Commerce 
    • Increased Speed-to-Market of Ultra-Fast Fashion Players
    • Greater Geopolitical Tension
    • Growing Consumer and Government Demands to be More Sustainable
    • New Advancements in Technology
  • Case Study: Zalando’s Connected Retail Programme
  • Case Study: PVH’s Attempt to Manufacture in Ethiopia 
  • Existing Issues Amplified by the Pandemic
  • New Pandemic Challenges
    • Surge in Consumer Demand: The “Bullwhip Effect”
    • Operational Disruptions
    • Inflation
  • Case Study: On’s Workaround in Response to Vietnam Factory Closures
  • Supply Chain “Trilemma”: Reliability, Speed and Cost
  • Discrete Value Creation Initiatives
  • Case Study: DXM’s Unique Supplier-Brand Partnership Model
  • Case Study: Katla’s Zero-Waste Approach to Manufacturing
  • Case Study: Neiman Marcus’ Supply Chain Transformation
  • Case Study: American Eagle’s Strategic Use of a Technology Partner

Why Buy this Report

  • Presents an overview on why fashion's supply chains need to evolve now, amid escalating global economic volatility
  • Delivers expert guidance on navigating the escalation in global geopolitical tensions and the supply chain challenges
  • Provides an exclusive view into the leading strategic priorities regarding supply chains as prioritised by senior fashion executives
  • Offers a playbook with ten discrete value-generating initiatives for companies to transform their supply chains into a source of competitive advantage and value

Research Inputs

  • 30 interviews with founders, senior executives and academicians drawn from
    • Brands and retailers
    • Manufacturers
    • Freight forwarders
    • Third-party logistics providers
    • Technology startups
    • Universities and research institutions
  • A proprietary survey of BoF’s fashion executive community:
    • The BoF Decision-Marker Survey fielded by BoF across its global community of fashion professionals, representing a cross-section of senior decision makers across a leading set of fashion brands and retailers 
    • N = 257 of senior executives (i.e. Directors, Vice-Presidents, Presidents or C-Suite)
  • Companies covered and/or interviewed in the report include American Eagle Outfitters, ASKET, ASOS, DXM, Flexport, Katla, Kavida.ai, Li & Fung, Linc, MANGO, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ohi, On, PANGAIA, Panjiva, Quiet Logistics, Reformation, Saint Art, Shahi Exports, SHEIN, SILQ, SXD, Syrup Tech, TextileGenesis, TrusTrace and Zalando