The Essence of Product Design in Digitizing Supply Chain

3 minutes, 30 seconds Published on Jul 09, 2020
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The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all industries. Media coverage in the last few days has made it clear how hard-hit the manufacturers are. As the crisis is the catalyst for change, with a huge crunch on manpower, adopting digital strategies and integrating product design in supply chain management, is allowing the retail business to thrive and excel.

Simply "giving customers what they want", which has always been fundamental to customer satisfaction, is now not enough. To resume back to its original state companies must ‘Put people first’ and must be able to give customers the right products in the most resource-effective manner.

Digital Revolution in Supply Chain Management

According to a recent McKinsey study, among the top 5 business areas, Supply Chain has the lowest digitization level of 43%. Only 2% of surveyed executives consider supply chain as the focus of their digital strategies. However against this pandemic backdrop question arises as to, are their priorities misplaced? Perhaps they are. 

End-to-end digitalization drives production efficiencies, brings down waste generation and human error to almost nil, and facilitates workflow transparency. 

We are investing this time in studying innovative ways for sampling digitally, that would be a huge step in our responsible commitment.
– Sonia Carrasco, Fashion Designer and Brand Owner

SupplyCompass is a cloud-based platform that acts as the ‘digital middle-man’ between brands and their partner factories to handle all aspects of garment production and is the pivot point of the supply chain. The platform provides tools for design, sourcing and trim selection, tech pack creation, order management and delivery — complete with a real-time status dashboard for the brands placing orders.

Flora Davidson, Co-founder, SupplyCompass, works with almost 200 factories in India—all of which have ceased production due to COVID.

Davidson urges brands to adopt digitization: “Real-time collaborative design and product development software solutions, 3D digital clothing sampling and virtual fit sessions and digitization of tech packs to manage fit and material libraries for future collections.”

McKinsey's research suggests that, if companies aggressively digitize their supply chains, they can expect annual growth of earnings before interest and taxes by 3.2 percent and annual revenue growth by 2.3 percent.

Integrating Product Design in Supply Chain

Companies fail to understand that decisions taken at the product design stage can have a critical impact on costs, agility and supply chain risk. In the framework of supply chain design, Design decisions include the social, behavioral and physical/structural design elements that define a supply chain.

The integration of product design into the supply chain provides companies with a strategy to sustainably establish a competitive advantage in increasingly volatile and competitive global markets. However, there are certain challenges that companies face when integrating product design and supply chain. 

A key challenge of integrating product design into the supply chain is that functions are often managed in isolation. In fact, product design is often neglected in the strategic management of a supply chain. Thus an attempt to change this relationship will require a fundamental change in the way organizations have performed certain processes for decades.

With simpler, leaner supply chains excelling during this crisis, COVID-19 appears to be a trigger for brands. If not implementing yet companies are definitely giving a thought at exploring.

Explore our product design portfolio that includes brands like Religare, The SAAB, PropertyShare, and many more. 

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