Fashion supply chains urged to build stronger relationships

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Fashion supply chains have been urged to use the global coronavirus crisis to take stock of existing business models and create more stable and sustainable supply chains.

 Research firm GlobalData claimed that global clothing supply chains had “unravelled” in the face of the crisis and it said that trust and goodwill had also eroded between many buyers and manufacturers.

Leonie Barrie, apparel analyst at GlobalData, said: “Rebuilding these relationships is key if the sector is to recover, and now is the time to start thinking about how the [fashion]industry can reset for the future.

“When the dust eventually settles, brands and retailers will depend on their suppliers to ramp up production. But if large numbers of factories have gone bankrupt, where will they source their goods? Onboarding new factories is a long and complicated process.

“Retailers that have treated suppliers badly may also find their support lacking when they eventually come to restock. Consumers, too, may shun brands whose focus on self-preservation is at odds with their promises of social responsibility.”

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GlobalData also warned that external pressure from investors for companies to maintain payments to suppliers, and legislation that compels firms to consider the welfare of workers within their supply chains, could lead to legal action against those that have not deemed not to have behaved responsibly.

Barrie said: “Actions speak louder than words – and while collaboration, cooperation and strategic partnerships have been rallying calls in recent years, they’re needed now more than ever before.

“The [fashion]industry must start planning a way out of this crisis that can bring about positive and lasting change.

“Stronger and more stable relationships with supplier companies and countries, as well as cross-industry initiatives to fix flaws in the system are urgently needed now if we’re going to weather storms in the future.”

Logistics Manager will publish a special sector report looking at the current challenges for fashion supply chains in its June edition. 

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Editorial: Christopher Walton
Commercial: Olly Filmer

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