Just Style: Artificial intelligence (AI) in apparel supply chains could force reshoring

Artificial intelligence (AI)-based sewbots and automation in apparel is not leading to nearshoring and shorter supply chains in developed countries yet, but experts have said that day may come.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI)-style ‘sewbots’ that can replace human sewers and other robotics look set to transform the apparel supply chain and facilitate reshoring or near-shoring to developed countries currently reliant on lower income outsourcing hubs, maybe thousands of kilometres away from buyers.

Online merchants and small new brands owned by millennials are already driving reshoring by claiming it involves a lower environmental footprint through reduced transport and less inventory waste. However, larger brands baulk at the investment and operational costs.

Palaniswamy ‘Raj’ Rajan, chairman and CEO of Softwear Automation, based in Atlanta, Georgia, US, whose sewbots can manufacture t-shirts in a fully automated process, warned that major and more established brands will remain “laggards not leaders” in technologically-driven reshoring.

They will wait for a critical mass to develop reshored production, before taking the plunge and disrupting established supply chain routes to market, he predicted.

Read the full article on JUSTSTYLE, here.