Apparel analysts at GlobalData say the clothing sectors needs to embrace Industry 4.0 to boost productivity and harness creativity, as the innovative concept provides a single, connected platform for all supply chain processes. GlobalData help businesses by providing unique data that helps make timely and better decisions across a range of industries including healthcare, consumer, retail, financial, technology, and professional services sectors.
Industry 4.0 – named as the fourth industrial revolution – is a hot topic in manufacturing. The concept of Industry 4.0 is that combining new technologies such as robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) with real-time data can make factories fully automated and can offer a more predictive and responsive approach to production.
“For the labour-intensive clothing industry with its long and complex global supply chains, Industry 4.0 has the potential to improve efficiency, speed up the whole planning and production process, reduce lead-times and allow brands to interact with supply chain partners in real-time,” says, Leonie Barrie, apparel analyst at GlobalData. “We already have 3D design and virtual prototyping tools, as well as intelligent cutting and sewing systems, but imagine the possibilities of a truly networked supply chain, where every step is seamlessly connected from design to manufacturing to the consumer.”
The process not only speeds up and smoothens the supply chain, but gives manufacturers another huge opportunity – in the traditional model, the manufacturers make designs and products in the hope that they will be received well by customers, however, Industry 4.0 paves the way for mass-customised clothing based on consumer demand. This way, the clothes will be made only after the order is received. This will help the industry eliminate the wastage of time on rejected or unpopular designs and get closer to the customer by providing more information about each product.
Barrie adds, “This changing model also means the role of the creative designer in Industry 4.0 is constantly evolving, thanks to new digital tech. Instead of creating designs in isolation from the consumer, the end-user will be able to participate in the process and adapt the designer’s vision. Likewise, designers need to keep automation in mind, taking the technology and factory making process into account, as well as the customer, material and brand. The increased access to information driven by Industry 4.0 can ensure efforts are focused on the merchandise that will sell quickly.”