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Dynamic supplier management in fashion and lifestyle

Portrait of Richard Federowski
パートナー
ベルリンオフィス, Central Europe
+49 30 39927-3495

What can companies do to make their supply chains more flexible and meet customer demands?

「The whole of the procurement organization needs to move faster and it needs to be more agile, more digital and more innovative.」
Senior Advisor
Roland Berger

The fashion and lifestyle industry has undergone a radical transformation over the last two decades. In some cases, fast-fashion retailers are now able to present as many as 40 seasons a year. At the same time, digital players are exerting massive pressure on the competitive landscape. As a result, customer expectations of speed and flexibility have changed beyond recognition – and traditional fashion and lifestyle companies are struggling to keep up.

In a recent survey of top decision-makers at fashion and footwear companies, we found that more than 40 percent are currently looking for new suppliers, with almost 40 percent of that group looking in Europe. Flexibility and speed have become more important than price and quality.

Companies in fashion and lifestyle constantly need to present new products.
Companies in fashion and lifestyle constantly need to present new products.
「Reducing time to market is the key question for retailers today.」
Portrait of Richard Federowski
パートナー
Berlin Office, Central Europe

Many retailers in the fashion and lifestyle industry have been repositioning themselves as omnichannel players, offering a combination of online and offline sales. At first glance, omnichannel appears to affect the front end only, or customer-facing operations. Many medium-sized retailers have been front-loaded in their approach to omnichannel, concentrating on channel management and marketing. But in order to be able to react flexibly to customer requirements, retailers need to focus on the back end too, ensuring flexibility all the way along the supply chain – a far more challenging task.

Surprisingly, our survey found that only one-fifth of companies currently had structured processes in place for managing and developing suppliers. Clearly this is an area with enormous potential and a matter for the C-level agenda. The question is, what can companies do practically to make their supply chains more flexible and meet customer demands? How can they achieve the agility they need to operate on par with the industry leaders?

We believe that the answer lies in dynamic supplier management. We identified three areas with unexploited revenue potential and present a new, integrated concept for reorganizing the supply chain and managing suppliers. Moreover, by combining this strategy with a focus on digital technology, players can optimize their supply chain strategy, and ultimately exploit the massive untapped potential that lies in professionalizing their supplier management processes – and achieve the flexibility and speed that today's fashion and lifestyle industry demands.

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Dynamic supplier management in fashion and lifestyle

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The fashion and lifestyle industry has changed to a large extent over the last 20 years. Some fashion retailers are launching up to 40 collections each year. Digital players are also increasing competition within the industry. Additionally, customers tend to constantly expect novelties on the market.

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Further reading
Portrait of Jens Kilimann
パートナー
ハンブルグオフィス, Central Europe
+49 40 37631 - 4125
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