Using technology to create a profitable supply chain

  • Written by Peter Needle
  • Published on 20 February 2018
  • Our Voice

Technology is increasingly being used to improve business performance. Virtual changing rooms and interactive websites use the latest technologies to enhance a customer’s experience, but the most important innovations are found behind the scenes, within the supply chain. When it comes to technology for the supply chain, the ethical advantages are often lauded  but the financial benefits are much less obvious. 

Speed to Market

Vice President of Dassault Systèmes, Susan Olivier, cites the biggest challenge facing the garment industry as “the confluence of two forces” – rising consumer demand and the increasingly complex nature of the globalised supply chain. Businesses are under pressure to speed up their supply chains whilst trying to mitigate ethical risks and ensure consistency.

A shipment being late – whether due to supply chain disruptions or non-compliant suppliers – means that the products arrive in store late, or they have to be transported by airfreight, at a much-increased cost. Subsequently, this puts the business behind their competitors, ultimately meaning that when the items do arrive, they go straight on sale at a discounted price. An item that could have been sold at full price can now only be sold for a fraction of that, reducing margins and resulting in financial loss.

Segura’s transactional technology allows for full supply chain visibility from purchase order, all the way down to component level, so you know what stage of production your items are in at all times. If a supplier is at risk of not completing an order on time, Segura provides an early warning system, so you can deal with the problem before it becomes a crisis. 

Rebate Maximisation

Rebate collection is a complicated and trust based process, which means that things often go wrong. If done correctly, a proportional cost recovery rebate can be beneficial for retailers, manufacturers and suppliers.

As retailers are not required to publicly announce their rebate collection, discrepancies between entitlement and actual collection often go unnoticed. With no set formula in place dictating how retailers should approach rebate collection, most companies rely on manual mathematics from collected order slips and invoices. Not only is this time-consuming but it leaves the process vulnerable to simple human error.

Professor of Accounting at the London School of Economics, Peter Pope, recently told Reuters that increasing rebate collection would require the implementation of “good internal audit procedures”. Segura’s platform offers retailers the ability to fully manage their rebate structures intelligently, automatically calculating proportional cost recovery rebates within each individual order. With volumes being accurately recorded and accepted, this ensures that nothing is missed and removes the risk of error as retailers can see which supplier was working on an item and when.

Counterfeit Protection

Counterfeit clothing is a huge problem for the global retail industry and it's thought that around £3 billion is spent on fake fashion garments and footwear every year in the UK alone.

The counterfeit clothing market not only eats into the profits of genuine brands but can also damage a brand’s image. Burberry worked hard to recover its reputation as a luxury designer after its iconic check pattern became readily available on local markets at knockdown prices.

Protecting your intellectual property is essential when it comes to protecting against counterfeiting. Most brands will have a library of product specifications and artwork, but this needs to be kept secure to prevent unauthorised parties accessing designs.

Segura's cloud-based supply chain solution ensures that suppliers and manufacturers can access the latest artwork files needed to fulfil orders, driving consistency among your suppliers. It also keeps all your valuable data on one secure platform and prevents any single supplier from gaining control over your assets. Only pre-approved suppliers can enter the supply chain framework, and you will be notified immediately of any unauthorised subcontracting. As a result, you retain control of your brand's intellectual property and keep the profits in your pocket.

The move from manual to digitised supply management processes provides retailers with a multitude of benefits: real-time data, audit reminders, order tracking and increased speed to market – all leading to increased profitability. It’s hard to see why most retailers are still tolerating unreliable and outdated methods – are you?

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