The branded apparel industry is at a crossroads as new merchandise planning challenges and industry dynamics force companies to change and adapt or lose relevance. Several key trends—such as increasing dominance of mass merchants, growing focus on private labels and the emergence of agile vertically-integrated retailers—have pressured branded manufacturers and dramatically reshaped the industry. These trends are pushing already thin margins even lower and forcing brands to accelerate sell-in and sell-through at the retailers.
Branded manufacturers must evolve their supply chain processes to more profitably compete in this dynamic market. One way to adapt and continue delivering the right products at the right time, place and price, and of course in the right size and color, is with advanced merchandise planning technology. Such technology can help dramatically reduce cycle times, increase visibility across the entire value chain, enable quick response to changes at retail, and ultimately keep customers happy.
This white paper explains why it’s crucial for branded apparel companies to do certain things really well — create a “one number plan,” maximize in-season excellence and develop a synchronized supply chain — and then integrate these competencies into holistic business processes. This piece also examines several key factors that have shaped the apparel industry and presents four steps to achieve improved merchandise planning at the store level, a greater ability to react to in-season replenishment signals and a streamlined sales and operations planning (S&OP) process.