During Texprocess and Techtextil Fairs, held at Messe Frankfurt, the International Apparel Federation’s Secretary General Matthijs Crietee moderated a panel discussion at the Texprocess Forum on 2015 May 5th titled ‘Making Technology Work in Fashion’.
The panel consisted of Çem Altan, Owner Aycem Tekstil (Turkey) and board member of IAF, IHKIB and TCMA; Guido Brackelsberg, founder of Setlog Group (Germany) and board member of DTB; Günter Veit, President Veit Group (Germany); Mike Fralix, President and CEO [TC] ² (US); Philippe Ribera, Group Software Marketing Director Lectra (France); Simon Fernandes, Regional Director UK, Southern Europe, South Asia of Alvanon and Nicholas Smith, General Manager Textile Coatings, adhesives & Specialties Bayer Material Science. All panelists were selected on their wide experience with bringing technology to the industry or implementing it. They are first movers and enabling others to be first movers.
In the past years the fashion industry has become more reliant on technology to drive competitiveness. Technology is at the heart of optimizing existing business models. This happens for instance by switching to 3D sampling to save on physical samples or to be able to bring new products on the markets faster while retaining quality. Entirely new business models such as made to measure must be build on new technology.
The panel discussion made clear that implementing this new technology is a big challenge for the industry. The following challenges and solutions were identified by the expert panel.
- Numerous examples from the industry show that return on investments in technology are often large and can be made fast. Financing the investments should, from a total supply chain perspective, not be the problem.
- Benefitting from technology that reduces environmental costs, or speed up the product development process or that enable made to measure production all require collaboration of different departments within companies and longer term commitments between players in the supply chain. This requires knowledge and leadership.
- Fully benefitting from investments in technology requires rethinking entire processes and not just optimizing existing processes.
- Technology is both enabling change and forcing fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers to change their businesses. This requires bold leadership and leaps of faith. The key to successful implementation of technology therefore is the management of change and the entrepreneurial courage to be a first mover.
Please find the full report here Report on Texprocess forum discussion session