One of the biggest burdens your shoe brand faces is maintenance of inventory levels that reflect customer demand through responsive replenishment. Sharp shifts in demand tend to throw footwear fulfillment and the supply chain into upheaval, squandering surge opportunities to sell sought-after shoes at full price.
To facilitate a demand-sensing model, you need the following three footwear fulfillment solutions:
1. “Release-To-Manufacturing” Handbook
Your designers may offer footwear concepts with eye-popping elaboration and complexity, but will they be impossible to produce? If the production process entails excess labor and handling, then throughput drops and costs escalate. That’s why pre-selection and pre-production analysis remains absolutely critical.
Your footwear sourcing partner should recognize process risks in the earliest stages of envisioning the product. Guidance and recommendations on ease of production, material attributes and costs are integral to collaborative product development.
Sourcing partners must distill and document the development process – addressing patterns, molds, materials and preferred techniques – to ultimately provide manufacturers with the comprehensive release-to-manufacturing handbook necessary for accurately generating production goods that replicate your prototypes and confirmation sample.
Mastering the release-to-manufacturing experience elevates the predictive value of manufacturing forecasts, revealing flexibility opportunities and realistic constraints. The handbook ensures accurate communications and an accountable methodology to ensure quality and aesthetic compliance from mass-produced items.
2. Trustworthy External Relationships
The whole market is shifting to a responsive, demand-sensing model. There is certainly a profit opportunity to having the hottest product on the market, but you need adequate inventories along with flexible, scalable and fully-partnered footwear supply chain partners that can strike while the opportunity is hot.
Significant investments and external relationships are involved in crafting an agile demand-sensing process. Partners must extend sufficient latent materials and work-in-process to make rapid re-order manufacturing and fulfillment possible.
Ideally, footwear sourcing and fulfillment partners and customers develop close communications about inventory needs and build a comprehensive demand-sensing process focused on the mutuality required for success. This ensures the delicate balance of inventory and demand are truly working in unified harmony. Otherwise, you could have several million dollars of excess and idle capital that will shortly destroy the economics of rapid response.
Demand-sensing implementation represents one of the achievable profit-enhancement mechanisms within capabilities, and the targeted use of this tool has to be considered in any categories with potential demand volatility.
3. Precise Execution Of Direct Shipping Requirements
Perfect execution of the release-to-manufacturing process is not the final challenge. Many projects go astray as a result of documenting, labeling, packing and loading failures before actually crossing the finish line.
International and multi-point distribution presents sizeable management challenges. Documentary compliance for logistics, customs, internal receiving and inventory management must be letter-perfect. Labeling for local government requirements, multi-market sizing, boxing, cartoning, packing and container loading are always customer-specific and require focused, systematic attention to detail.
Your footwear sourcing partner must show demonstrable mastery in these critical functions before being considered fully competent and responsible.
Without this high level of partner insight and support, you could get to the last mile of your footwear sourcing journey and mismanage the crucial supply chain process.
When selecting a footwear sourcing partner, demand a partner that has embraced the complexity of our business from end to end. A truly reliable and trustworthy sourcing partner understands that managing details to their smallest parts is the major prerequisite for success. The right partner delivers the following:
- Reality testing designs
- Collaboration on product details
- Documenting and delivering a well-defined release-to-manufacturing handbook
- Supporting strong trust relationships with footwear manufacturers
- Directing investment and production plans to maximize market opportunities
- Conquering the final miles to perfect fulfillment
Can your present supply chain partner say “yes” to all of the above critical success components?
Learn more about mastering end-to-end complexity in your footwear supply chain.