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Fashion supply chain transparency: From talk to action

August 26, 2021

Supply chain transparency is a rising discussion in global fashion industry boardrooms. It is now more important than ever as transparency appeals to conscious consumers who want to know how their products are made.

Fashion businesses are vast and complex. A global company can have between 1,000 and 2,000 suppliers on average, and that figure can balloon to between 20,000 and 50,000 with sub-suppliers

That is how wide and deep the fashion supply chain is. With many major brands taking public sustainability pledges, they need to find a way to track, trace and monitor their complex supply chains to achieve their sustainability goals.

Make informed decisions

Information is everywhere. Gone are the days of departments working in silos to manage their data. Consolidating complex data from multiple touchpoints on one single platform, and then deep diving into this data to trace product origin are key steps for companies to achieve true transparency. 

However, many companies still store supply chain information in legacy systems, spreadsheets and emails, making it hard to track or make effective decisions. The fashion industry needs to embrace technology to achieve their transparency goals.

Embracing technology is a necessity

Tech-enabled supply chain solutions are not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a necessity now.

At Serai we are on a mission to simplify trade and help you make informed decisions. Our supply chain traceability and visibility solutions can help businesses to:

  • Learn about their supply chain partners, understand underlying risks and stay up to date with any changes that might affect their business;
  • Trace their products to raw materials by connecting all partners with a standardised data framework so that they can easily exchange information to trace products to source;
  • Monitor ESG credentials of the partners in their supply chain in one place.

Change in mindset

We are already seeing a shift in mindset in the fashion industry, according to the recent Fashion Transparency Index Report. Compared to the first edition in 2016, the 2021 edition reports that:

  • 47% of brands publish a list of their tier-1 manufacturers;
  • 57% disclose that their brand is tracing at least one raw material supply chain;
  • Brands are being more transparent with a 19% average traceability score, up from 16% last year (calculated based on brands that are publishing supplier lists from manufacturing to raw materials, and level of detail brands are disclosing about these suppliers).

Changes are being made and businesses are opening up their supply chains to public scrutiny. Simple efforts such as disclosing tier-1 to tier-2 suppliers will show consumers that the industry is taking transparency seriously. 

There is still a lot of room to improve though. However, with increasing expectations from regulators and consumers, businesses who are transparent and sustainable will benefit. 

To find out how Serai can help you achieve your transparency goals, book a demo here.  

Serai is also hosting a webinar on September 1 titled ‘In Search of Sustainability - The Apparel Supply Chain of the Future’. Click here to register.

Register today