The Supply Chain is Knitting Up a Storm

By April 20, 2017CEO Newsletters

The Supply Chain is Knitting Up a Storm

April 2017
Author: Author: Cassandra Lee, General Manager – North Asia & Greater China, Logistics Executive Group


Take note: next season’s big fashion statement will be “Responsible Innovation”


Supply Chain fashion innovation, aka the science behind the manufacture of garments, first disrupted the fashion industry and then the entire world all those centuries ago and became the catalyst for change that we now know as the industrial revolution.

Today if you were asked to think of “fashion” and “revolution”, you would probably conjure up a Vivienne Westward design or Kim Kardashian’s infamous Paper Magazine cover. This is all thanks to the clever marketing of fashion houses. The more fashion has become a tool of mass manufacturing and market consumption, the more it has tried to persuade us that it actually stands for the opposite: the rarified, exclusive, customized, individualized creations that are tailored to our “specialness”. I’m sure we have all succumbed, to have fallen head over heels with the idealization, the grooming of our inner narcissist by the flattering, fashion ads that promise to bring out our inner James Bond or Audrey Hepburn with the spritz of an eau de perfume (probably manufactured in China under quality controls and chemicals they are not obligated to disclose).

The reality is that the revolution of fashion manufacture has been stifled by the opening of third world markets because there was no longer an impetuous to produce technological efficiencies if money can be as easily saved through the use of “cheap” labor.

Not surprisingly, fashion manufacture started to lag in the innovation stakes… until now.

A constant stream of news articles has forced us to face the fashion folly of our ways. We would still like to believe that those expensive, Italian branded sweaters have been hand-knitted in the rarified air of Milan and not in the same Bangladesh sweatshops that push out product for Kmart, but we can no longer deny what has been tagged in the media as “fashion’s dirty little secret”.

So the fashion bigwigs have worked out that the love affair will soon be over unless they change their ways. That is where those buzz words come in: “Responsible Innovation”. The overused decrier “sustainability” is so yesterday Darling..

In Copenhagen in May this year, over 1,200 fashion, political, and business leaders gathered, from all over the world to address the worrying turn in consumer sentiment towards the industry. The dilemma was how to stem the jaded, popular sentiment without damaging profits? How to acquiesce without sacrificing the bottom line?

The answer was there the whole time of course: technology… and so the wheel comes full circle.

Once again it is predicted that the fashion world will become a major disruptor by using its high profile to revolutionise. Of course the technology was there the whole time but now, due to public pressure, it will be used and we will no doubt be hearing all about it on the catwalks from Paris to New York. H&M have already pushed out their “sustainable,” “Conscious, Exclusive” range. Chanel have even started doing a “Green” collection with “high fashion ecological” materials.

Of course this may all be feel good tokenism… or it may be the beginning of a new way of order, a new way of doing the business, just like the industrial revolution that started in the weaving rooms of England and Scotland of so long ago. Sustainability will be replaced with Innovation as the whole industry is exposed to the technology of an open transparent media who insist on closing the loop and pushing towards change.

This could be yet another new avenue for supply chain professionals to demonstrate their finesse as business leaders and augmenters of change. Supply Chain and Logistics Leaders everywhere, grab your algorithms, your ERPs and dashboards, from Copenhagen to New York and Paris, the revolution is high!


Cassandra Lee
General Manager – North Asia & Greater China, Logistics Executive Group

Based in our Regional Headquarters of Hong Kong, she operates in a global capacity and leads the North Asian Business streams of Consulting, Executive Search and Training and associated teams in the delivery of Talent Management, Education and Talent Acquisition services.

With more than 16 years Industry experience Cassandra has provided senior level executive recruiting and consulting services to organizations around the world, which delivers profitable leadership change to key organisations. Cassandra exemplifies excellence in her innate ability to connect executive talent with businesses across the supply chain.

Cassandra’s proven and highly successful approach melds strategic analysis with aggressive process-driven search execution. She works with companies, not for them. As such, she has become one of the leading executive recruiters in her field today and a thought leader in Talent Management and Learning & Development with a loyal client base and extensive professional network, including supply chain, procurement, retail and business leaders at all levels of business operations globally.


LogiSYM Singapore 2017 | Last Call to Register.

The Asia-Pacific region’s premier Supply Chain Symposium and Summit. Learn from the world’s top thinkers and doers in a series of main stage talks over two days. LogiSYM Singapore 2017 speakers offer pragmatic, real-world insights that transcend Logistics & Supply Chain sectors. Have you registered for the event?


Innovate to lead: Advancing cross-border e-commerce in Asia

To say cross-border e-commerce is taking off like a rocket would be an understatement. With a growth rate of about 25% per annum and a market size expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020, the opportunities are tremendous. But how can retailers capitalize on this trend? Join DHL E-commerce CEO Charles Brewer and Quintiq APAC general manager Kris Kosmala in an exclusive webinar this May 3, as they take a deep dive into the latest consumer trends and emerging digital technologies in the e-commerce space.

Register Here.



9th GPCA Supply Chain Conference
2-4 May 2017
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Held under the theme ‘Agile and Efficient GCC Supply Chains – The Role of Technology’, the 9th GPCA Supply Chain Conference will offer delegates an exclusive opportunity to explore the benefits of supply chain digitization in a complex and changing marketplace environment. Attendees will hear from global industry experts about how leading supply chain organizations have leveraged innovative technologies to improve the agility and efficiency of their supply chain operations.


The 4th MENA Cold Chain Forum
16 – 17 May 2017

The 4th Edition of the MENA Cold Chain Forum will take place in Dubai from 16 – 17 May 2017. The event has established itself as must-attend event for all stakeholders who are involved in making the pharmaceutical cold chain process flawless for the region. This Annual event has successfully attracted professionals from different Ministries, Food & Drug Authorities, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, Healthcare Providers, Pharmacy Chains, Shipping, Transport and Logistics Companies, Distribution Houses, Airports and Customs, Airlines, Storage and Warehousing Companies, Supply Chain Solution Providers, Temperature Controlled Packaging Systems, Temperature Monitoring Systems, GPS Manufacturers and Data Loggers.


LogiSYM Singapore 2017
17 – 18 May 2017
NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House, Singapore

The region’s premier Supply Chain Symposium and Summit, LogiSYM Singapore 2017 focuses on bridging concepts, practice and technology in supply chain management, real world implementation and benefits that result in increased supply chain pipeline velocity, profitability and performance.


Supply Chain Innovation Summit 2017 China Focus
25 – 26 May 2017
Shanghai, China

Supply Chain Innovation Summit 2017 China Focus (SCCN2017) is the Annually Supply Chain Innovation Summit(4th Edition) organized by Ace Events, announced to be held on 25-26 May 2017 at Shanghai China. With the theme “Digitalization. Revolution. Success.”, address the topics across Supply Chain Innovation, Digitalization, Visibility, Innovative Supply Chain Technologies, e-Commerce Supply Chain, Cross-Functional Collaboration, etc. it was developed from and for supply chain and logistics professionals as a globally involved conference.

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