In December 2021, McKinsey & Co’ and Business of Fashion (BOF) released its annual State of Fashion report. Below are the key points in the report regarding the sourcing trends in the year ahead:
#1 The logistics challenges could intensify in 2022, with 87% of respondents expecting supply chain disruptions to continue to affect their profit margins in the year ahead negatively. The global surges in demand create additional and unpredictable pressures on freight services, ports, and terminals. As a result, fashion companies may need to “plan for a permanently more expensive logistical future.”
#2 It will be critical for fashion companies to keep sourcing flexible, build resilience into the supply chain, and work closely with vendors. As one respondent commented, “[crises like] pandemics do happen.”
#3 The interest in nearshoring and reshoring will continue in 2022. Over 70% of respondents plan to increase the share of nearshoring close to company headquarters, and about 25% intend to reshore sourcing to their headquarters’ country. Notably, some EU-based companies have been moving textile manufacturing from China to Turkey to minimize delays.
#4 One crucial free trade agreement to watch is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), to take effect on January 1, 2022. It’s the largest free trade agreement in history, involving nearly 30% of the world’s population. RCEP “has the potential to be at the core of the reconstruction of the global supply chain. RCEP is possibly the only trading block with both production capacity and consumer demand,” meaning it could dramatically facilitate regional trade and investment within Asia.
#5 There is a “significant opportunities in creating a hyperdigital supply chain.” Some companies are leveraging technology to find“competitive advantages in a supply-chain context when it comes to speed, agility, cost efficiency, and price.” However, fashion companies admit, it will remain challenging to plan inventory flow with much precision, which won’t change any time soon.
Other interesting comments from the report:
“One mega trend…in the sector is the importance of breaking down the traditional boundaries of what’s in the company and [what is done externally]; what can be accomplished together as a network — whether it’s creativity, sustainability, and supply chain, or technology.”
“As fashion brands look to pursue closed-loop recycling solutions, it is increasingly important to engage with suppliers who can help them move toward sourcing circular materials.” “Cost is certainly a factor; recycled fibres are typically more expensive than their virgin counterparts.”
“In the longer term, fashion brands will need to balance the desire to enhance speed to market with the need to alleviate supply chain pressure…That may mean streamlining production, logistics planning, and booking capabilities, as well as putting in place contingency plans and alternative suppliers while remaining as agile and flexible as possible.”