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Video Podcast: Apparel Supply Chain Challenges – Size XXL

We work with a lot of branded and private label apparel manufacturers and brand owners, and it’s clear there is a misperception about supply chain complexity in these industries. Counter to what many people think, apparel supply chains are complex and demanding with global sourcing, long lead times, short selling seasons, and demand uncertainty. On the market side, it is extremely difficult to forecast changing fashions and fickle consumer tastes. On the supply side, we have hard-to-model constraints, costs, lead times, and vendor (maker) requirements.

I sat down recently with industry expert Ed Thompson to find out more about the unique challenges and best practices used by leading apparel supply chain teams. Ed has a wealth of apparel experience in organizations such as Hanes Her Way, Columbia Sportswear, Polo Ralph Lauren, and many others. He took me through some of the issues involved with global sourcing, managing demand, and boosting forecast accuracy up and down the product hierarchy.

We also discussed key opportunities around supply chain modeling, inventory optimization and sales and operations planning. We talked about how to make smart decisions on where to hold inventory for flexibility, speed-to-market, and ability to respond quickly while keeping costs under control. Ed shared several best practices as well as what an apparel company could expect from an optimized supply chain.

The video is quick and packed with great information. You can view the full 15 minute video podcast here (requires registration).

John Brewer is Director at Logility. He can be reached at


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