How does Digital Collaboration Work in the Supply Chain

The fashion company Marc Cain and the accessories manufacturer Peter Budel GmbH are showing at the most recent Re’aD Summit of the German Fashion Institute how they can make their supply chain more digital and efficient.

The button is still the old one, but compared to the past there is a huge amount of data attached to it, this is how Christian Büdel describes the future of the fashion supply chain.

His company PB Accessoires supplies fashion companies such as Hugo Boss and Marc Cain with products such as ribbons, fasteners and snaps. In recent years, the accessories manufacturer has made its product information available on various platforms, including in the DMIx Cloud digital library of the Cologne-based company ColorDigital or on its own website.

Product data will be available everywhere
Certain products can still be displayed better on their own page, others such as ribbons better on the DMIx Cloud, where users can search for individual parts for their collections using colors. The company is already working on adding the relevant functions to its own website and to DMIx. In the future, managing director Christian Budel expects that product communication will run through all possible channels.

The accessories manufacturer is standardizing the product data on its own website in order to be able to distribute it more easily on the Internet in the future – such as on the websites of hybrid trade fairs or sourcing platforms, explains Büdel, who runs the family company with his brother Andreas Büdel in Laufach near Aschaffenburg directs.

The future could look something like this: Potential customers discover a product via an external website and can add it to their own internal IT system and planning software with one click. The goal has to be that the flow of data does not end on the customer’s screen, but is passed through to their internal systems, says Büdel. In this way, customers can be continuously informed about updates to prices and certificates.

More data, faster decisions
Not having to see the product in real life and having all the information available digitally speeds up work processes – especially in a sector like the fashion industry, where several companies from different countries work together on a final product. Preliminary decisions can be made without physical samples when products are represented digitally. This saves time and money and is kind to the environment.

The accessories manufacturer Peter Budel accompanied a start-up in six months up to the brand launch – from the sketch to the product maturity – “without us having seen each other once,” says managing director Andreas Budel online during the Re’aD Summit .

For long-standing customers such as Hugo Boss, PB Accessoires has even provided its own library with the products developed for the Metzingen-based company. From there, the customer can call up his supplier’s 3D models in real time at any time and continue working with them in his design programs.

The example of a pilot project by Marc Cain and Budel Accessoires also clearly shows the advantages that result from digital collaborative work.

Marc Cain has two procurement channels – outward processing and full purchase. Like many clothing manufacturers, the Bodelshausen-based company is globally positioned with its sourcing. And there is a lot of need for coordination, especially when purchasing merchandise from abroad.

With the first projections on the demand for merchandise for the coming season, Marc Cain asks his suppliers for offers for the production of items such as blouses or dresses. The sewing shops then in turn obtain information from their fabric and trimmings suppliers for these offers, explained Marc Ruoff, PLV procurement team leader at Marc Cain, during the Re’aD Summit online.

Communicate and produce more efficiently
The required number of articles and many other factors remain volatile over the current order season. This means that a lot of information has to be continuously updated for the merchandise suppliers. With the increase in full sales and the globally branched supply chains, the need for communication between suppliers and clothing manufacturers also increased enormously.

In order to be able to process all these inquiries, these are now forwarded to a web portal at Peter Budel. There is a released area where only products for Marc Cain are displayed. Here the suppliers can see prices and delivery times and get information for their offer, which they can send to Marc Cain.

In the pilot project with Marc Cain, PB Accessories is also trying to bring together the production inquiries from passive contract finishing and full purchase.

The automation of the data streams will “certainly” also bring improvements in the workflow, because a lot of master data is currently still being typed in manually, says Ruoff. “Some of the data is transferred back and forth by e-mail. If something like this can run automatically, it naturally makes daily work easier.”