Sourcing Journal: How Big Will On-Demand Manufacturing Actually be For Apparel Sourcing?
The apparel industry is inching closer to custom-made clothing with each technological advancement and increasingly taxing consumer demand. And though on-demand manufacturing won’t remedy all of the apparel industry’s speed to market ills, it stands to serve considerable purpose in automating the processes and products best suited to it.
The win with on-demand is two-fold: the customer gets exactly what they want, and the brand only has to make exactly what they want. That means little waste, no excess inventory and no accounts receivable risk.
On-demand manufacturing will mean a shorter, more local supply chain, and it will mean cutting costs too.
“The fundamental issue with on-demand in all of these concepts is labor. The U.S. doesn’t have enough seamstresses, they cost too much, and so we have to go to China to make this or Asia, or something like that,” said Pete Santora, chief commercial officer for Softwear Automation, purveyor of the sewbots Adidas has enlisted to make 800,000 T-shirts a day in its humanless Arkansas factory, starting next year. It’s labor costs that have driven companies to source in far reaching corners of the world, with executives racking up airline miles and hotel loyalty points to visit their suppliers.
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