Each country has its own trendy products from certain brands. There is no secret that there could be hundreds or thousands of kilometers between a brand’s “homeland” and where its products are actually manufactured. Popular outsourcing countries like China, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam produce about 85% of all the world’s branded items.
Fedor Pakush, the Head of the AsstrA Beauty and Fashion Logistics department, knows how to keep the clothes business connected and explains the challenges light industry logistics often faces.
Fedor, what is worth highlighting about logistics for the fashion industry? What influences prices for end customers?
The major factor is time. Delivery scheduling is the lifeblood of clothes logistics. Imagine, for example, that a huge mass-market producer of clothes, haberdashery, and accessories makes a distribution deal with retailers all over the world. It plans and launches advertising campaigns and even announces the grand opening of new company shops, and … deliveries are delayed for a week.
You might not think that 7 days is not such a long time. However, 7 days late mean 7 days of idle warehouse space, rental payments for empty retail space and, of course, damage to the producer’s reputation due to customer complaints.
That is why planning and monitoring every stage of delivery are the basic requirements for every supply chain participant. For example, AsstrA provides two drivers for every car to guarantee that the car will arrive in time for unloading. It not only minimizes the human factor for the shipment but also is about 50% faster.
The second important factor that both transport and logistics suppliers and their clients should remember about is seasonality. Traditionally, increased demand for new spring/summer or fall/winter collections causes a shortage of available transport. That is why big producers must always look for reliable logistics partners and book capacity in advance. It is too risky trying to find adequate numbers of cars in peak seasons.
Popular collections, however, do not always follow seasonal patterns. Ultra fast fashion is a new concept in the industry that describes how collections can be changed very quickly in response to new trends that catch on.
In this case, AsstrA clients receive express delivery via air freight or high-speed trains from China. Both options are significantly more expensive than sea or rail shipping, but often being at the front of a new trend is worth the extra investment. The end consumer is ready to pay even more if he receives a value proposition first.
And one more key point is safety. Clothes, haberdashery, and accessories are very easy to re-sell and the risk of theft is high. AsstrA provides top-notch safety with clear transport schemes including only proven roads and secure gas stations and parking areas. Each new route is thoroughly analyzed ahead of time.
What should a client take into consideration when choosing a vendor?
The majority of global fashion producers work with tender systems in which a logistics company is chosen based on completing some basic competitive criteria. Clients indicate all terms in accordance with the tender. They can vary depending on the transportation route or the client's internal policy. But the most important are terms, safety, and availability of additional services. Other requirements might involve specialized rolling stock with hangers, marking, and pre-sales preparation.
These non-standard and challenging light industry applications led to the creation of dedicated AsstrA Fashion and Beauty Logistics (AFBL) Division four years ago. The Division has gathered and analyzed the experience of successful fashion and beauty projects. On this basis, the department’s working standards, main services, and complementary offerings were created. Working this way helps to handle challenging applications.
Recently, AsstrA has delivered shoes from India. AFBL had to bring together goods from 5 Indian factories scattered around the country and put them in a special warehouse. Then the division was to carry out quality control, load the cargo, register it, and deliver to Europe. In Europe it was necessary to mark the goods and distribute them to different places including Russia, which required additional customer registrations.
The success of the projects and experience gained don’t mean that we can stop and relax. The fashion industry is a developing, dynamic, and often unpredictable market that needs to be monitored all the time. For example, nowadays European brands selling on the Russian market are facing the challenge of a new obligatory shoes marking regime from 1 June 2020. We are already developing a new service regarding that change: we are forming a chain of warehouses in Europe where goods will be marked, registered, and sent to Russia.