[TC]2's Reshoring Fashion Initiative Identifies New Factory Concept

[TC]2 hosted a meeting on March 16, 2015 at its Cary, N.C., offices to discuss its "Reshoring Fashion Initiative."  In attendance were executives from throughout the apparel supply chain, including representatives from brands and retailers, cut and sew manufacturers, and fabric and yarn producers.

The objective of the ReShoring Fashion Initiative is to provide shorter, faster, adaptable apparel supply chains to American brands and retailers that can deliver measurable profits by improved sales at full cost, reduced markdown losses, higher valued fashion and overall reduced risk of inventory associated with longer import supply chains. The initiative includes the creation of a new modern factory model, which is not intended to replace current global sourcing methodologies in place but to coexist with them and to strategically augment them when and where appropriate. The goal is that this model be both scalable and repeatable.

[TC]2 is seeking funding to prove the viability of this modern factory as a model that incorporates best practices in manufacturing and management. This proposed lean factory model includes 60 to 150 highly cross-trained workers. The full whitepaper on this initiative is available by request.

Participants raised the question of whether the model factory is designed to be a brand owned facility or will serve as a contract facility. The intent is that the model is flexible enough to accommodate numerous ownership scenarios. Balancing production “demand peaks” with similar product categories during “off-peak” times was also discussed as a concern.

Attendees engaged in significant dialogue regarding the right product categories for the modern factory model start-up, debating availability of labor for this new business structure.

[TC]2's factory/product costing model and sourcing strategy software are decision-making tools that can provide valuable data when evaluating the cost effectiveness of a domestic sourcing strategy versus a global one. Participants discussed nearshoring and its role in developing a holistic sourcing strategy.

Some in attendance presented opportunities for grant funding within the state of North Carolina, and most seemed to agree that industry should make a priority of adopting automation, digital solutions, digital fabric printing as well as 3D printing technologies.

In order to prove the modern factory concept, an interested party should utilize and convert an existing facility in the United States.  Finally, there was a spirited debate about the overall mission of the initiative regarding job creation versus a sound business solution. Participants reached a consensus that this model must be based on improved financial performance with job creation as a byproduct.

Kilara Le is a consultant at [TC]2.
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