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Future or Now? “PoP-POS”​ integration for the ultimate Responsive Supply Chain in Fashion Industry.

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Ishtiak Alam Jordge ,Industrial Engineering and Global Project Responsible H&M

I aspire for such model to make the best usage of i4.0 elements in FASHION industry. I termed the abbreviation “PoP” meaning “Point of Production” which is the moment a garment passes the quality requirement at the end table of a production line in a manufacturing unit.

Achieving operational excellence by designing and developing highly efficient systems and improving efficiency in existing systems through automation and integration have been the core contributions of my career. I deploy TOC (Theory of Constraints), Six Sigma (6σ) and other Lean Tools for these agile transformation projects. And from my experience I’ve observed that, only proper integration of different segments of the value chain can significantly improve the performance, specially by reducing lead time and creating more predictive demand forecasts.

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In fact one of the most effective ways to flatten the Bullwhip Effect in Demand (above image) are; system integration and real time supply chain visibility creation. Specially in fashion industry demand-supply control is the most critical factor to avoid unwanted stock and discounted sales.

Fashion industry entails the most reactive and trend sensitive supply chains. Now with the extensive exposure to world wide web, the global fashion trends are set in a moment with a candid celebrity/influencer post in Instagram or TikTok or any other social media. And followers would instantly start looking to buy the particular outfit. But such whimsical demand exists for as short period of time and only retailers who can grab the trend can skim a good profit. Now the big question is:

How a brand/retailer can achieve the leverage to control production precisely to serve the market demand?

This is largely possible by developing an integrated system that captures both the PoP (Point of Production) and the POS (Point of Sale) data simultaneously to make a real time stock level simulation and demand forecasts.

One of the major challenges to establish such system would be to maintain the unique ID of each garment/product and keeping it identical throughout its PLC for all users. Yes! for ALL users of all tiers. And this can be achieved by developing “one for all” single could based platform where each user will have limited visibility and access to update his/her part. But the master system will compile all information and cater analytics.

Now each piece garment production gets updated in the system at the PoP and simultaneously each piece garment sold also gets updated at the POS. And this happens for all production lines producing the product in all regions and for all retail shops selling the product both physically and virtually. This ensures a seamless update on the outflow and inflow with a very reliable demand forecast.

Even the brand/retailer can make end moment Design adjustments in running production as a response to the real time demand trend. And mode of shipments (sea, air etc.) can be easily determined to catch the sales frenzy.

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Highly responsive quality feedback system can also be ensured with such traceable integration. Once the cloud based system is established, the platform can also get integrated with the customer feedback channel for a particular product performance feedback.

Well, this article brings stars into a jar, a vast topic stated briefly. Surely there’s much more to it. And numerous aspects to be considered for implementation of such system.