Digitisation has taken a whole new meaning in the ‘New Normal’ and while people are working from home armed with the power of IT and digital resources, the world has suddenly realised that many jobs need not happen physically.
Even before the pandemic, industries like music and media had already accepted digitisation as the future and the progress in other industries was on the rise. The increasing use of Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Blockchain and Internet of Things was disrupting old thought processes, even in the fashion industry.
Discussions around digitisation to meet growing needs of fast fashion and smaller runs were heating up. The physical versus online store debate was pushing retail companies to go omnichannel. Yet, the knowledge gap on digitisation was still huge, acceptance was limited and was found mostly among bigger brands and manufacturing companies.
And then the Coronavirus hit the world, impacting not only lives, but also limiting mobility of humans to their homes. So, what was growing as a natural progression, all of a sudden became a necessity that no industry could overlook.
Fashion manufacturers today have fully woken up to the reality that the fashion supply chain needs to go digital. Robotics, IoT, Machine learning, 3D printing are few tech-driven concepts that are drastically reducing the time taken from conceptualisation to creating the final product.
Not only at the manufacturing end, but digitisation also finds relevance in logistics to get products into stores much faster and keep the customer in stores longer with interesting technology that make for a responsive shopping experience. Not to forget that the acceptance of online shopping platforms has reached new heights.
In fact, digitisation has the power to completely transform the fashion retail industry and with the introduction of newer technologies, the retailer can better the forecast, design, source, stock, delivery and service of the product.
When the concept of Industry 4.0 –a push towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes – gained ground about 2 years ago, who would have thought that the apparel industry would actually pick it up so fast!
Always at the forefront to keep the industry updated, this issue of StitchWorld is dedicated to the Industry 4.0 concept and its significance in retail as well as manufacturing. We have highlighted the same in separate stories focusing on how retail and manufacturing need to conceptualise 4.0, and also look at it from a long term sustainable stand-point to reap the benefits of smoother workflow.
While the team has given a run down on the major areas where retail sector can utilise 4.0 concepts, two pioneers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have explained how they are integrating digitalisation in their processes. The case studies clearly indicate that digitisation is not a ‘should have’ but a ‘must have’ concept in business.
A company that has been at a leadership position in digitisation, Lectra is today guiding the industry through the pandemic crisis with solutions. In an exclusive conversation with its Chairman and CEO Daniel Harari, the SW team discovered the strong strategies of Lectra that have supported growth of the company. Harari, also shares some future trends that the world is going to witness. He lays emphasis on integration of digitalisation in businesses so that the industry can lay a strong foundation after Covid-19.