A new initiative has been launched to digitalise the fashion supply chains of at least 100 European companies to improve product traceability, time to market, warehouse management and data exchange.

eBIZ 4.0 is the latest move of the European Union-funded eBIZ project, whose overall aim is to digitally connect and exchange data at low cost across the European fashion value chain, making the fragmented European industry more competitive with Asian suppliers.

Specifically, the project will combine the benefits of the eBIZ standard for digital data exchange across the fashion value chain with RFID and near-field communication (NFC) technologies to help small and medium-sized enterprises digitalise the way they work from production to retail.

The goal is to bring the benefits of IT tools mostly used in large fashion businesses within the reach of small and medium companies to significantly improve their processes management as well as their connectivity to suppliers and customers.

The solutions developed in the eBIZ 4.0 project will be applied by at least 100 companies, including textile, clothing, footwear producers and retailers to improve product traceability, time to market, warehouse management and digital data exchange throughout the supply chain.

The new project pools competencies from core eBIZ stakeholders such as Euratex (the European Apparel and Textile Confederation) and Enea (the Italian National Agency for New Technology, Energy and the Environment) with those of leading IT companies specialised in the fashion value chain, including Schaeffer Productique from France, Kyklos from Italy and CLAVEi from Spain, which is also the project coordinator.

Lasting two-years and with an overall budget of around EUR1.5m (US$1.6m), the project will receive 50% cost co-funding by the European Commission through the COSME programme for the Competitiveness of SMEs.