The production approval process is the most critical but least acknowledged link in the entire apparel supply chain. Yet the keys to achieving a more efficient, proactive process are not only connectivity and communication – but also empowerment and delegation, according to a new report from just-style.

The report, entitled 'Too Many Standards: A practical guide to navigating the production approval process', explains how the process is both segmented and interconnected, as well as exploring the effect a number of factors can have on seven key elements.

"It's a multi-faceted eco-system involving collaborative operations performed simultaneously in multiple locations by multiple stakeholders, all working toward the ultimate goal of presenting the best possible garment to the consumer at the established time," says Margie Bross, report author and apparel industry consultant. "The challenge is getting to 'All Approved' – the point at which all the garment components have been approved and production can begin. Once actual production has begun, garments will move swiftly through the factory lines – cutting, sewing, knitting, finishing, packing, and out the door."

The report suggests that both submitter and approver must understand the need for connectivity and keep the lines of communication open, utilising calendar discipline and building relationships between brands and vendors.

Delegation and empowerment are also key, with the gradual process of capacity-building often leading to opportunities for brands to become trained as the company's eyes in the field. Brands should not fear empowering overseas agents and sourcing offices, Bross says, as the relinquishing of responsibility for design integrity, adding check and balances should still stay in place.

As the process develops, the brand can gradually shift the approval process to the stakeholders on the ground, thus freeing the creative department to focus on the future. The result, according to Bross, will be a faster, leaner organisation and a more efficient, proactive production approval process.

The report will not be on sale until next month – but is available now as part of just-style's best-ever subscription deal. For just £150 we are offering 12 months' access to the latest global apparel news, analysis and market intelligence, along with two free apparel industry reports – 'Too Many Standards' and 'Practical Price Negotiation' – worth £600.

Click on the following link for more details: just-style's best-ever subscription offer.