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The New Normal for Garment Manufacturers

Louisa George
January 15, 2021
2020 was one of the worst years in our collective memory due to the rise of the highly contagious Corona virus that led to a breakdown of global systems. Two weeks into 2021, the new vaccines have finally started rolling out in many countries, a cause for relief to many of us.
The pandemic’s uncertainty has led to our transition into the “new normal”. Most countries imposed travel bans and lockdowns to control spread. This resulted in the global economy and the fashion industry being hit hard. With its high dependency on offline channels of service and manufacturing, the industry has been under immense pressure.
Let's dig deeper into how the onslaught of the coronavirus has affected the Fashion Industry at large and garment manufacturers in particular.
Rising Uncertainties in Garment Manufacturing
Covid 19 brought with it numerous regulations and lockdowns, that have been detrimental to apparel manufacturing. mask mandates and social distancing guidelines that followed the lockdowns have done little to improve the plight of garment manufacturers. But disruptions in their operations is not a one off situation that manufacturers faced only due to COVID.
How frequently can things go wrong for manufacturers? McKinsey surveyed dozens of industry experts in mid-2020 to gauge the same and their responses showed that manufacturers can expect disruptions lasting one to two months to occur every 3.7 years on average, and those dragging on for two months or longer happen roughly every five years.
Factories are susceptible to natural disasters, economic failures and political turmoil. Factories also face problems on a daily basis like the lack of visibility and of real time data, increased product defects and risk of obsolescence. The absence of readily-available data makes it difficult for managers to prevent wastage, order delays or errors and ensure worker accountability in a factory. Such conditions exacerbate the negative effect felt by manufacturers due to rare incidents, much like the current pandemic.
Digitization: the key to faster problem solving
With such a propensity for things to go wrong, how can apparel manufacturers respond to growing uncertainties in the industry? Digitisation has presented itself to be the best solution. Digitization technologies for manufacturing have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years. This provides much needed visibility into floor operations thereby leading to an increase in quality and efficiency and a reduction in wastage.
The industry, as a whole, is seeing larger dependency on digital channels at various stages in its supply chain. Recent data has shown that we’ve leaped five years in consumer and business adoption of technology in a matter of months due to the pandemic.
McKinsey’s annual report on the State of Fashion for 2021 has predicted more than 20% annual digital growth in 2021 compared to 2020.
Looking ahead towards a hopeful future
The new normal has some of the same disruptions we’ve already seen along with the new ones that we are now experiencing. Leveraging present experiences is essential to survive and grow in the future.
Sticking to business as usual can mean higher losses and greater risks. A better way is to push through the uncertainties and unpredictability by using new tools.
It is vital for businesses to get a clearer understanding of operations to make it more efficient, transparent and safe for all stakeholders.
Surviving as a business in this pandemic has reinforced the importance of meaningful partnerships built on mutual trust . It is only by working together that the industry can see better days sooner, rather than later.
Zilingo Factory provides the best tools to increase factory floor visibility.
Begin your digitization journey with Zilingo Factory software.
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