Fashion retailers looking to standardise supply chains

A shift away from closed loop supply chains and an increased focus on international markets, eCommerce and forming concession and wholesale partnerships is prompting apparel retailers to move towards standardised supply chain processes.

That is the view of GS1 UK, which says it has seen a significant increase in its membership base from fashion players as they target new markets, begin working with more external partners and realise their legacy numbering systems are no longer compatible for their needs.

GS1's standards include its unique identification of products, process automation and inventory management through RFID, and the organisation has revealed that apparel businesses such as Arcadia Group, Debenhams, Monsoon and Sweaty Betty are among the latest retailers to benefit from its range of services.

New Look is a long-term GS1 UK member, and Emily Stow, junior operations manager within the retailer's international partnerships division, said the collaboration has been useful in recent years as the company has focused on international growth.

"GS1 UK has helped us identify opportunities to streamline operations and improve supply chain processes across several areas of our business to support future growth," she explained.

The supply chain standards organisation says it has added 697 new members from the apparel world in the past year, representing an increase of 48%, and members from this sector of the retail industry now total 2,129.

Jacky Broomhead, market development manager for apparel at GS1 UK, commented: "GS1 standards are becoming a necessity for apparel brands.

"Through their adoption, products can move more efficiently throughout the global supply chain, reaching the customer more quickly."

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