Digitising the product development process and doing away with physical samples will not only save costs, but also enable a much faster and more flexible supply chain, which in turn will improve profitability, said a top official from International Apparel Federation. Robotisation has the potential to change the structure and the geography of the industry.
“A digital sample of a product can be shown to potential customers very quickly after the product is created, and if the consumers don’t like the product, it need not be produced at all. But this is only one example of the way digitisation improves operations and creates a balance of power in the supply chain. For instance, we now also see the quality control process being partly digitised, enabling selfassessments by manufacturers to be verified in a digital environment,” said Han Bekke, President, International Apparel Federation.
However, Bekke said that he does not foresee a large percentage of the global apparel production being made by robots in the near and not-so-distant future. Talking about industry 4.0, he said, “If we look at industry 4.0 in the narrow sense, as driven by Internet of Things (IoT) then in manufacturing, where sewing machines are becoming intelligent, the adoption rate is picking up. We see a positive impact on productivity and flexibility caused by the enhanced functionality of machines.”
The International Apparel Federation is the world’s leading federation for apparel manufacturers, their associations, and the supporting industry. Its membership includes apparel associations from more than 40 countries representing over 150,000 companies who provide products and services to the apparel industry – a membership that represents over 20 mn employees.