After 18 months of global supply chain disruption, workwear fabric manufacturer Carrington Textiles, revealed the company’s challenges during this period and the growth its supply chain team has been through to be able to maintain the company’s high levels of service.
Since early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a whole new set of challenges for Carrington Textiles, ranging from the team having to adapt to a new dynamic way of doing things remotely, to lockdowns and positive cases around the world impacting the availability of raw materials and freight.
Brexit was another big task for Carrington Textiles, as the company had to find ways for establishing new procedures that adhered to the Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the European Union to ensure products could still be shipped to customers without unnecessary delays
Additionally, the Suez Canal blockage which lasted six days, had a severe impact on the supply chain, generating even further delays on blank sailings, loops changing and unforeseen transhipments.
With the rollout of the vaccine programme and the coronavirus pandemic restrictions gradually easing in many countries around the world, Carrington Textiles saw a considerable increase in demand from the beginning of 2021, a situation to which it had to respond quickly to meet customers’ expectations.
Supply Chain Director for Carrington Textiles, Stuart Pritchard, explained, “We have seen in 2021 extraordinarily high levels of demand in comparison to 2020, which were higher than we could have predicted. We worked in collaboration with our internal teams to understand where we produce fabrics, ensuring we have the right raw materials in the right place, at the right time. With a multisite operation in the UK, Portugal for EU origin fabrics and Pakistan, these challenges were complex.”
The supply chain boost
Stuart outlines what has changed in Carrington Textiles’ supply chain and how is this benefiting not only customers but the environment. “We have introduced a new warehouse in Portugal with a bespoke management tool written by our own IT team, so we have full control on the system and its features.
“We’ve also had to restructure the entire supply chain team by adding 50% more talent in order to ensure we have the right competence operating at the right level to meet our customers’ needs. We looked outside the textile industry to find the best people with a wide range of experience and ideas that can improve our service to customers.
“With this growth, the team is not only able to implement new customs procedures and documentation, but also to spend more time analysing and improving processes, stock performance, global production capacity utilisation and ensuring our worldwide raw material needs are fit for purpose.
“Because it’s important for us to have access to the right data at the right time and in the right format we have also invested in a demand planning tool that will produce forward sales, production and stock projections and help manage our business in order to meet that all our customers’ expectations. This will no doubt enable us to be more agile and predict where we need to focus our efforts to ensure smooth operations through what’s been a very tough couple of years for supply chains.
“This new technology will also make our supply chain a lot more sustainable and environmentally friendly, as it will help us ensure we are not purchasing and shipping more product than needed. I believe in managing our capacity needs and production facilities ahead, so we utilise our assets efficiently and don’t waste energy”.