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Talking strategy: new ideas on sustainability, managing waste and technological innovation
published in Issue 5, 1st Quarter 2009
Improving the sustainability of manufacturing operations has become a key strategy for many big players in the global apparel industry. To date, the term has commonly been associated with corporate responsibility, particularly towards the environment and human rights.
However, there are additional benefits to making apparel manufacturing more sustainable, including opportunities to improve margins by managing levels of waste. And these opportunities are not just related to maximising the use of raw materials or minimising energy requirements, but are also associated with improving ways that human resources are utilised, especially in terms of time.
Technological innovation has an important role to play as it helps companies to trim operating costs and, in turn, raise margins or cut prices to improve competitiveness—an imperative which has become even more important in view of the recent global economic slowdown.
In Talking strategy this quarter, Mike Fralix, the president and chief executive officer of the internationally-reputed apparel technology research and consultancy firm [TC]2, explains some new thinking about how to approach the topic of sustainability.
In particular, Dr Fralix gives specific advice on ways in which companies can make changes to improve efficiency without spending money, by carefully inspecting facilities, offices and staff behaviour. In addition, he provides a vision of the future which encompasses the evolution of digital clothing supply chains—from design to retail—that minimise returns and, in turn, reduce waste. These chains rely on three dimensional (3D) body scanners, personal avatars, online dressing facilities and the development of “controlled” virtual shopping communities. Advances in the popularity of e-commerce and online retailing—which are already key growth segments for most clothing retailers—are a given.
Four times a year, Global Apparel Markets provides essential and up-to-date analysis and insight into the global apparel industry.
Reports contain updates on developments in the apparel sector, trade and trade policy, research-based information on individual market sectors, business news and expert opinions on strategy – to keep retailers, manufacturers and investors informed of the facts and figures which will affect their businesses.
Each issue contains:
a detailed research-based report or company profile covering information on sourcing, developments in technology, colour and/or fabric trends, market sectors such as discount retailing, or other issues which affect companies in the apparel industry;
a round-up of industry developments and innovations in the apparel sector;
a feature on trade and trade policy;
advice from industry experts on strategy; and
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