The cloud-based platform enables partners across the supply chain to share information related to the products they make

The cloud-based platform enables partners across the supply chain to share information related to the products they make

A new software tool has been developed to help track and trace garments and the materials used to make them, taking the sector closer to a closed loop supply chain. 

The new Circular Content Management System (CCMS) provides a view into the real-time (current) location of a product – as well as the journey it and all its components have made by the time it reaches the consumer.

Developed by the Dutch Awearness initiative, which is working to close the loop in the workwear supply chain, in collaboration with software provider Improvement IT, the CCMS provides insights into material flows and date, the production process and management operations.

Ultimately, as Dutch Awearness points out: "In order to reuse a product in the circular economy in the future, we need to know how it is made today."

The system is based on a batch code, and requires all supply chain partners to enter data about the product in CCMS and show what they have added. This may include the suppliers they use, the processes, the energy, the modes of transport, the materials, the finished products, and the information about take-back and re-use. The batch code is then taken to the next producer in the chain, who does the same. A new batch code is created, which is associated with the previous batch code in the series.

In this way, a chain is created for the product, with a chain director monitoring all processes. Once the product is complete and can be handed over to the end-user, a QR code is generated that is associated with the batch code, which is placed on the product.

For consumers this means they can also see the story behind the product. Scanning the QR code gives a view of the map where the item's route can be seen, with information on materials and producers, the environmental impact, relevant certifications and the production chain viewed on Google Earth.

Keeping track of the materials in the chain helps when it comes to recycling them after use. The batch code remains even after the product has been used – so it is also possible to see in which cycle the product has been recycled.

Dutch AWearNess is the leading partner in the EcoProFabrics project, which is part of the European Commission's Eco Innovation programme. Its aim is to design and produce 100% recyclable garments and closed loop supply chains in which all garments can be taken back to their raw materials after use in order to make a new garment.