Multilateral agency ITC and fashion manufacturer association IAF are previewing the research phase of their AI fashion supply chain project at the IAF World Fashion Convention with US partner SPESA (Sewn Products Equipment Suppliers Association of the America’s) in Philadelphia on 23 to 24 October.

The joint study applies learnings from the car and electronics industries to show how material suppliers and fashion manufacturers can create ‘smart flexibility’ by postponing production commitments closer to actual demand and unlocking capital from unneeded inventory and excess production.

The new approach called smart flexibility is said to use a mix of process and data tools such as AI to enable fashion suppliers to create additional value for fashion brands and manufacturers alike. This is described as being able to “supersede the benefits of lowest cost global sourcing”.

Full supply chain profitability was the research priority published by fairer purchasing practices enterprise Sustainable Terms of Trade Initiative (STTI) and co-initiated by the IAF in 2021.

The STTI sees smart flexibility, or shared risk, as a highly productive alternative to the imbalance that’s often seen in sourcing relationships.

The organisations explain: “Smart flexibility elevates purchasing practices beyond seasonal, transactional contracts to deliver mutual goals for sustainability.

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By GlobalData

“Conventional, often adversarial bargaining need not define industry culture as new technology with AI injects fresh insight across one of the world’s oldest, most globalised supply chains.”

The study, titled ‘Under the Banyan Tree: Buyers and Suppliers in Fashion,’ will be previewed at the IAF World Fashion Convention with IAF general secretary Matthijs Crietee moderating a panel session featuring the main contributor to the study,
John Thorbeck.

The session will also include discussion from the CEO of MAS ACME, the US subsidiary of giant manufacturing group MAS Holdings, Brad Ballentine and digital printing equipment supplier Kornit Digital’s Scott Walton.

The publication of the study will be announced in joint timetable and events by the ITC and IAF.

Next week’s joint International Apparel Federation (IAF) and the Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) 38th World Fashion Convention will also reveal the USPs of individual fashion sourcing destinations as well as the supply chain solutions that can work globally.