Insights from Product Innovation Apparel New York
On June 17-18, the Coresight Research team attended the PI Apparel New York conference. The event brought together retail industry disrupters to discuss retail challenges and coming technologies that can solve many of them. These are some of our insights from the event:
- 3D technology took center stage at the event: 3D allows faster decision making, lowers sample cost, offer a better synergetic environment and improves sustainability.
- Integration of product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain are critical: Time lost = sales lost.
- The digital skills deficit is increasing in tandem with the need for a data-driven approach to product quality: Big tech offers some solutions.
- Crafting a digital strategy, building a new operating model and infusing the right technologies are imperative for retailers and brands as they transition into the next generation of product creation.
On June 17-18, the Coresight Research team attended the PI Apparel New York conference. The event brought together retail industry disrupters to discuss existing retail challenges and coming technologies that promise solutions.
These are some of our insights from the event:
3D allows faster decision making, lowers sample cost, offers a better synergetic environment and improves sustainability.
- 3D is digitally transforming the retail industry, from digital apparel design, to visual merchanting, to virtual showrooms and seasonal assortments, which significantly lower costs. Nidhi Puri, Senior Director of Technical Design at PVH, said managing digital assets is the most fundamental process. She also believes 3D samples and minimizing sample size can lower production and shopping costs.
- Idy Lee from Li & Fung talked about how the company has “gone digital” and CEO Spencer Fung’s vision of achieving digitization in the company’s three-year Li & Fung has collaborated closely with brands to transform the supply chain.
- Lee also mentioned getting technical and design teams to work together on 3D can deliver even better results, but also said metrics are vital to assess success.
- This is the time for 3D transformation and collaborations. 3D education is key.
Integration of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and supply chain are critical: Time lost = sales lost.
- Brion Carroll from PTC defines PLM as a process landscape, functional footprint and reality of the retail market. And he pointed out that just as one size does not fit all in the apparel and footwear market, PLM extended supply chain solutions should be customized.
- PLM can give vendors secure and easy access to product and other information via the vendor portal. Vendors can also leverage vendor scorecards to get KPIs for sourcing decisions.
- The ThingWorx retail connector uses IoT capabilities to connect to global business systems to view data models. It can map the data object, elements and attributes from one enterprise system to another (e.g., PLM>ERP) and triggers data exchange per the defined mapping model.
The digital skills deficit is increasing in tandem with the increasing need for a data-driven approach to product quality: Big tech offers some solutions.
- Previously, value creation was linear, one-way and isolated. Now, value creation is mutual and continuous.
- There are four stages in the digital production chain: digitalization, optimization, automation and autonomous. First, people need to ensure transformation from manual to digital. Then, we can start to optimize multiple data source-based decision making. After replacing less valuable and time-consuming activities during the automation phase, we can eventually realize risk mitigation and resource optimization.
- Retailers should focus on a data-driven approach. The key to the future is having everything in real time. As the importance of sustainability continues to climb, transparency around supply chain and collaboration will also become vital, said Fernando Moncayo Castillo, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Inspectorio.
- The digital skills deficit is increasing: We’ll see 133 million new digital roles emerge globally by 2022, and more than half of executives think existing skills are lacking. Some 54% of the workforce may need reskilling.
- Three lessons from big tech to overcome the digital skill deficit are:
- Know the “from” and “to” state: By defining your current status and your target, you can assess needs and identify gaps to create a plan.
- Take a page from Agile Principles: Inject collaboration, iteration and customer-focused processes into business model.
- Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Culture is critical to the success of integrating digital skill sets. Some 62% of organizations agreed that culture is the most difficult thing to change.
Three things are imperative for retailers and brands as they transition into the next generation of product creation.
- Crafting a digital strategy: Before product innovation, retailers and brands should define how to interact with data, map the journey and let consumers engage as well.
- Building a new operating model: Revisit organizational structures to see if spans of control are aligned. Keep practicing new skillsets and reinforce with incentives.
- Infusing the right technologies: Next generation product creation includes technologies focused on concept to consumer. Knowing where and how to prioritize the investments is critical.