As the world continues to emerge from the darkest days of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, it is evident that this global calamity has accelerated a dramatically impactful corporate trend: digital transformation. The process of digitizing information, operations, and customer interactions was already sweeping through organizations across industries and continents for years. But, the heightened health and financial imperatives to manage work remotely, improve supply chain performance, and streamline costs that spiked in 2020 have greatly hastened the deployment of new digital solutions.
The apparel and footwear industry is a prime example of one whose digital transformation exemplifies the multitude of global factors that drive needed change. Throughout the entire value chain, from materials sourcing, to factory management and manufacturing, to shipping, to retail sales, there is a call to action for superior transparency, efficiency, quality, and sustainability for all parties involved. All of these lead to improved competitiveness, happier end-customers, and a healthier planet.
While the above drivers are not entirely new in themselves, what is new are the availability of digital solutions to make factory transformation accessible and the degree to which consumers are increasingly demanding of their brands to achieve a higher ethical standard. These two developments are affecting change in the mindsets of apparel and footwear executives, and manufacturers, who understand that staying competitive means modernizing the factory floor.