Smart Tech expert: The Future Of Supply Chain Connectivity, Collaboration, and Resilience, With TEKYN

To accompany the latest white paper from Première Vision and The Interline—“Fashion & Technology: Why Smart Tech Is Transforming Fashion”—we talked with four different technology companies to obtain their perspectives on how technology is reshaping the way we work in key areas, from design to supply chain transparency.

In this exclusive interview, we talk to Apolline Fuchs, Partnership Team Lead for TEKYN, who will be exhibiting at the AW 24-25 edition of PV Paris. In this conversation, we explore why Apolline believes local, sustainable production is the key to a more ethical model of fashion, why the disconnected nature of fashion’s supply chains presents such a challenge, why mutual access to live data is so important to efficiency, agility and competitiveness, and how far the vision for Industry 4.0 is being realised.

Apolline Fuchs, Partnership Team Lead for TEKYN

Why is data sharing across the supply chain not the norm in fashion today? Why do you believe the value chain is as disconnected as it is, and what does TEKYN do to connect it?

In my opinion, there are 3 main points why the value chain is not the norm and disconnected.

First of all because players don’t have easily access to the right data. 90% of players in this industry are small ones and most of them haven’t digitised their processes. They do not have the same resources as large companies and are not structured or have not taken the time to structure themselves.

The second main reason is that some of them don’t want to share data. It’s a competitive industry where everyone knows each other. Some may be afraid to give too much visibility to their competitors or their clients on their activity. When they have to face a delay or an organisation issue, they prefer to keep this information private.

The third reason is that change can be scary, especially when you are not digital friendly. However, it is important to note that as long as companies find the right tools based on their current needs and have the right human support to accompany them in that change it will be very beneficial for all kinds of profiles.

The TEKYN SaaS platform connects brands and manufacturers, so that they interact in a common intuitive digital workspace on the supply chain. Data are centralised and updated in real time. Then exchanges are fluid and the management of the production chain is simplified. It allows human and material optimisation.

Read also: Smart Tech Expert: Digitalising Design, With Style3D

What are the major negative outcomes of the disconnected nature of supply chains? And what are the key benefits of bringing together brands and their suppliers on a single platform?

The disconnected nature of supply chains impacts directly competitiveness. Players can’t be as productive and agile as they could be if they are not sharing the required information, and not making them quickly and easily accessible to the right partners.

Players work on common data they share by phone, mail etc. They all spend a lot of time writing, re-entering and searching data. When they access it, it is difficult to ensure that they are using the right ones, as it is not centralised and updated in real time. So it requires many double entries, thus a loss of time and it generates many errors which can cost a lot.

The problems of a disconnected supply chain

There are many benefits of bringing together brands and their suppliers on a single platform.

First, when you work on a common digital workspace all data is entered once, so that everyone who is concerned can access it. It can be updated when needed, whether internally or by your partners, so you can quickly access the right data.

Second, you can interact with your partners on the supply chain management in an easier way, i.e you can place an order on a specific product in a few clicks. Your partner can accept or modify your proposition directly in the platform and the order will be saved in your common workspace so that you can access it whenever you want.

Another benefit is that you can react quicker if you face an issue, i.e if your manufacturer is late or if you see he has not enough fabric stock to produce, you can see it directly, adjust your sales and launch your delivery faster.

Read also: Smart Tech Expert: Revolutionising Product Journeys, with TrusTrace

What is the difference between sharing static information – such as technical specifications in a PDF document – and live data? Why is sharing information in real-time fundamentally different, and what benefits can it provide in terms of supply chain connectivity?

There are two main differences. The first one is that when you work on live data, you are 100% sure you use the right data. When you have to change an information on a static document, you have to send a new document to all the other people concerned. You can’t be 100% sure that they will work on the good version. The truth is that it often happens that a manufacturer does not use the correct technical file, due to the many back and forth via email, thus starting a production on the wrong version. This has a huge impact on the delays and financially speaking.

The second one is that you can be more proactive to avoid problems, ie: if you change the material consumption on a product file you already have orders on, you will immediately be able to see that you don’t have enough stocks to fulfil the order. So you can react in a good way.

As a company that offers both software and hardware designed to connect and manage production, what is your perspective on the idea of Industry 4.0? How far has that vision for connected manufacturing been realised?

Industry 4.0 as a key to succeed.

Beyond the pressure exerted by the consumer-citizen and the legislator, brands are more and more voluntarily committed to sustainable and ethical fashion and it’s no more a choice.

The fashion industry is going through a fundamental transformation: production as close as possible, reasoned and more transparent.

To achieve these objectives, players need tools that provide agility and allow the deployment of new models : on-demand production, upcycling, etc. It requires digitising the supply and production chain from start to finish with tools that integrate these new models. Industry 4.0 is the key to succeed.

At our level, we have seen in recent months a growing interest in our 4.0 cutting line as it makes it possible to deploy these new models – industrialised production of small series, upcycling and innovative production thanks to the latest technologies integrated in.

The two main challenges are investment and the lack of competent resources. This is why we strive to have accessible prices and solutions that do not require expertise or prior training. To succeed industry 4.0 must be affordable and easy to use.

We have ambitious objectives because the indicators are green even if we must continue to inform and evangelise players.

Read also: Smart Tech Expert: Transforming Transparency & Sustainability, With Fairly Made®️

How can sharing a common platform between brands and their partners help to deliver on the vision for sustainability, transparency, and data disclosure?

Sharing a common platform helps to optimise resources: you benefit from a real-time view of the status of stocks. No more dormant stocks and unnecessary orders! In addition, the reactivity and agility that the platform provides allows you to adjust more easily the quantities to be produced according to the demand to get closer to a just-in-time management.

The more the communication is transparent and information is shared vertically and horizontally, the more the projects are successful.

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