The fashion industry thrives on innovation. It’s what the consumer wants from us—something new, not just clones or replacements for worn-out items. New product introductions are critical to business success, but only half of them achieve the profit objectives set before launch. To improve the ratio of hits to disappointments, it is essential to listen to the consumer and collaborate with the supply chain.
The consumer sets the bar for value and the supply chain determines whether you meet or miss it. The next decade will call for significant materials and process innovations at both the micro (product) and the macro (enterprise, supply chain, and industry) level. If shorter, more frequent product introduction cycles were the only challenge… but they’re not. At strategic planning levels, the industry must figure out how to convert to more sustainable ways of doing business, starting with raw materials and research and development and expanding product lifecycle management practices to include recycling. At the operational level, rethink the way you work internally and collaborate with supply chain partners to eliminate waste throughout the value chain. If a process doesn’t add value for the consumer, don’t do it. Optimize the entire value chain and focus it on value creation. Innovations arise at every stage, when all the partners can see the value chain as a whole.