Making Efficiency Fashionable
Fashinza is helping create a 21st-century fashion supply chain
Supply chains are having their moment in the spotlight. The global supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been seen and felt by everyone. Whether you are buying a car or a new sweater, you have had some challenges getting hold of the product you want. In the US alone, 60% of Americans surveyed were not able to get a product because of supply chain issues.
The challenges with global shipping flows that have caused many of the short-term issues are now starting to solve themselves. However, long-term supply chain challenges still persist. Existing supply chains are often out-of-sync with the high-speed, always-on world of today. In the fashion industry, it can take up to 6-9 months from design to delivery. During such long lead times, fashion preferences may change, creating the potential for disconnect with customer preferences. This leads to inventory wastage and unwanted products in bargain bins or worse, in the landfill. Unsurprisingly, the fashion industry is known to overproduce products by more than 30% each season. Additionally, brands markup retail prices at 80% margins yet only make profits in single digits. Much of this value is lost due to delays and lack of visibility in the fashion supply chain.
In order to address this global issue, Fashinza gets apparel factories to use technology that increases efficiency, reduces fabric waste, and aligns with the needs of 21st-century brands and manufacturers.
FACTORY AND FAMILY
In a small town three hours outside New Delhi, Pawan Gupta grew up watching his father run an apparel manufacturing factory. From an early age, he observed how hard his father worked and the complexities of the factory he ran. When Pawan left his hometown after getting into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, he focused on ways he could help people.
An entrepreneur at heart, Pawan showed an early ability to identify problems and provide innovative solutions. At university, he started a side business, which allowed patients traveling to India from Europe and the US access to high-quality medical treatments at a lower cost. This drive to solve pressing societal problems continued after graduation in 2014 when Pawan and two friends founded a health startup called Curofy. The company provided a social media app for doctors to help share insights and gain feedback across India. The idea was a success, with more than 50% of Indian doctors using the app within 2 years of launch. Once the business was acquired in 2017, Pawan started looking for new inspiration and returned to his home village to contemplate his next move.
As soon as he returned home, he began watching his father work at the small apparel factory. As Pawan says, “I saw just how antiquated the factory’s systems and processes were. They were losing so much efficiency by not having the right infrastructure. That gave me the motivation to build something that could make a significant impact for small, family-run businesses.”
“I saw just how antiquated the factory’s systems and processes were. They were losing so much efficiency by not having the right infrastructure. That gave me the motivation to build something that could make a significant impact for small, family run businesses.”
Fashinza was founded in February 2020 at the precipice of the looming COVID-19 pandemic. Undaunted, Pawan and his co-founders Abhishek Sharma and Jamil Ahmad marched ahead with their mission to revolutionize apparel supply chain through technology in India and beyond.
SPEED AND EFFICIENCY
What became clear to the founders as they dug into the fashion manufacturing business were key challenges across the supply chain.
From the consumer perspective, the fashion supply chain was built for a different era of low-cost, mass production. Previously, brands decided what they were going to produce up to 9 months in advance and customers simply got what the brands delivered to them. Today, enabled by the Internet and social media, customers want products that match their desires – with more options and customizations, tailored to their particular interests. This fragmentation of fashion and expression has led to a rise in new, direct-to-consumer brands. But it also requires an agile & transparent supply chain – one that was not readily available. This means fashion brands have faced constant struggles, first with sourcing products, and then with visibility into what they were going to receive and when.
On the other side of the equation, the Fashinza team discovered that manufacturers had the desire to provide what the brands needed, but didn’t have the infrastructure to do so. Existing ERP systems were too big, expensive, and cumbersome, so most of the factories still ran on pens, paper, and whiteboards. The owners had to manage complex businesses encompassing financing, production, labor, raw material sourcing, and logistics, all without the tools they sorely needed.
To solve the problems plaguing both sides, the Fashinza team built a unique apparel manufacturing tech platform tailored specifically to the needs of manufacturers & fashion brands. Through Fashinza’s software solution, brands and manufacturers can interact seamlessly, enabling all key processes to be managed through a mobile dashboard. The onboarding process is extremely fast and information from factories can be pulled together in one place. This means that decisions can now be made based on data, not gut feeling, and the increased transparency means both sides have greater visibility into the production process.
The impact of this system can be dramatic. Fashinza’s approach has reduced quality issues from 20% to as low as 3% across the factories where it has been implemented. One customer was able to take its business from 20 machines in 2020 to 80 machines in one year with Fashinza’s platform. This efficiency meant the customer could focus on other services such as production management and quality control solutions. Fashinza gave the company the freedom to expand its business and branch out into other areas.
Fashinza’s success cannot be understated, but Pawan is always seeking more. The key to success is ever-increasing efficiency, “We need to keep building data around everything: the factory, the demand, the trends, and the raw material. Combining and analyzing all that data is what will enable the next level of efficiency for our factories along with data-led designs.” The company has already enabled its customers to shrink the supply chain from 12 months to two months, with an ultimate goal to get it under a month.
“We need to keep building data around everything: the factory, the demand, the trends, and the raw material. Combining and analyzing all that data is what will enable the next level of efficiency for our factories along with data-led designs."
Fashinza markets its system as “design to delivery”, and it goes beyond simply making old systems more efficient and increasing visibility – it actually changes the way brands and manufacturers do business. By analyzing trends, Fashinza can enable manufacturers to create new product offerings tailored to the market. This allows brands to quickly follow current trends and find manufacturers with designs that match their aspirations. Orders, therefore, can be tailored more closely to market needs and designs can get to market much faster than ever before.
Fashinza also sees the success of its systems spanning other, broader positive impacts. Increasing supply chain efficiency means creating products more targeted to the needs of consumers. This leads to less waste and fewer products being diverted to landfills. A more efficient supply chain in turn enables increased profitability for both the fashion brands and the manufacturers. Finally, helping smaller manufacturers become more successful creates more employment opportunities in small, often impoverished, communities. At the same time, the increased visibility in the supply chain improves working conditions, drives better sanitation, and pulls underprivileged people into the formal economy to the benefit of all.
Pawan, Jamil & Abhishek aren’t resting on their first years of success. While Fashinza currently gets 90% of its business in India, the United States, UAE, and Bangladesh, the company already has customers in other key production centers including Vietnam and Indonesia. Looking ahead, this means that while some geographic expansion is likely, the bigger focus for the company is to go deeper into the supply chain. Pawan remarked “There will always be a bottleneck somewhere in the supply chain. If it’s not at the brand level, it’s the manufacturer, if not them, it’s the people supplying raw materials.” The company is aiming to help other parts of the supply chain to increase its efficiency and speed.
Fashinza is also expanding to help manufacturers in markets with similar dynamics to fashion. The company’s recent expansion into the home sector is the first part of a push to enable increased efficiency across the broader lifestyle industry.
It all comes down to making the supply chain work for all. If the manufacturers in India are improving the lives of their millions of workers, and the end customers are getting quality products delivered more quickly, everyone wins. And if everyone wins, then Fashinza has infused its value and mission throughout the entire fashion supply chain.
For more, visit Fashinza: https://fashinza.com/