Supply chain management has harvested the fruits of globalisation and technological development to place collaboration between partners at the heart of effective B2B relationships. Such collaboration is multi-faceted: standardised processes, the alignment of activities and the creation of the value networks which place interdependent roles and activities at their core. GS1 UK for example, is a community of over 31,000 members working with industry to facilitate the making, moving and trading goods to automate and standardise their supply chain processes using the common language of GS1 global standards.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

London College of Fashion and GS1 UK joined forces to hold an industry panel last week to discuss visibility within the supply chain and to identify its impact on B2B and B2C relationships. The technical and governance development within supply chain management has facilitated ever closer collaboration between businesses. With the consumer now an established influencer in supply chain management, Executive MBA (Fashion) asked the question – what does effective supply chain visibility look like within an omnichannel trading environment.

Global supply chain from GS1.

Global supply execution challenge from GS1.

The panel was made up of:

Jacky Broomhead – Jacky Broomhead joined GS1 UK in May 2015 to implement the strategy for its apparel sector by increasing awareness, driving standards adoption and ensuring its standards are aligned with the needs of industry. Coming from a fashion retail background, she has eight years of experience across product development, sourcing, buying and merchandising. She has worked for Zalando’s Australian sister company – The Iconic – where she assisted in launching two new departments before managing the department store concessions, licensed boutiques and travel retail accounts for Fossil Group.

Dev Chana – After a career working with businesses such as Jack Wills, DHL and Kelso Place, Dev Chana offers interim and advisory support to retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers. He has supported organisations across supply chain strategy and implementation, e-commerce design, change management, project management and systems implementation.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

Joanna Israel – After completing her masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Joanna has gone on to work for retail brands QVC and Jack Wills. Since joining Jack Wills 18 months ago, Joanna has led transformational projects on various elements in the supply chain including Returns management, RFID implementation, warehouse redesign, fulfillment from stores and vendor compliance.  Joanna’s strategic vision and omnichannel approach to supply chain projects have been key in driving improvements and efficiencies throughout the company. 

Vanessa Podmore – Vanessa holds a deep insight and operational expertise in many areas of the international supply chain in both luxury and high street businesses, Vanessa has worked with brands such as Coach, Pentland brands, and Jimmy Choo and is now a consultant working with business, government and educators to develop supply chain best practice and innovation.

The debate was lively and prompted much thought. Supply chain visibility was regarded as vital but the panel accepted there are further steps to be taken to develop accuracy in data and reveal the hidden elements within the chain. The discussion also assessed the viability of consumer expectations and the resultant impact on last-mile logistics and the cost to serve. Much was made of the differentials between business models and the creation of an appropriate supply chain to support.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

EMBA Fashion debate supply chain visibility – the route to total collaboration.

James Clark, EMBA Course Leader commented that the discussion, he told us:

The discussion highlighted the collaborative nature of the supply chains and the alignment of business interests to maximise the undoubted benefits of transparency within them” he also added that it is clear that supply chain professionals have a vital role to play within the further development of the fashion eco-system

Javier Conde, a student on the course, spoke to us after the discussion. He told the panel:

Big data (and what to do with it), risk management, how relationships have become critical to making our supply chains transparent and ethical… those were some of the hot topics discussed on a very exciting debate among speakers and guest in our Unit 1 GSC Panel. The ongoing discussion between the customer and product-focused strategies showed us how the development of new technology – as shown by our host GS1 – may well be the key to leaner operations and the much-desired goal of effective sustainability.

We also spoke Andrey Voronkov from the course following the event, who told us:

The alignment of the processes in Supply Chain Management (SCM), so that it becomes more agile, flexible and responsive, is one of the key retail strategies today. Sustainability within SCM should be the next step retailers take and implement to gain competitive edge.

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