“It’s a big job. We don’t have the time or budget to implement it.” This was the response given by one professional clothing manufacturer when asked about digitisation plans for his business. Others in the room had similar views, Bodi.Me’s CEO and co-founder, Lara Mazzoni found during her panel discussion at the Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide’s (PCIAW) summit in Porto, Portugal last week.
Lara had the pleasure of joining industry colleagues, Richard Jessup of OPTITEX and Ana Travers of RDD Textiles to discuss how digitisation can vastly accelerate processes, improve the apparel industry’s environmental footprint and create stronger, more resilient business models for a better future. Yet, whilst some technological advances such as fit and sizing technology is already widely used in consumer fashion, the professional clothing sector has been slower to bring these advances on board.
But why? What are the barriers and how do we overcome them?
During the session, the panel highlighted the key benefits of digitisation such as reduced timeframes, waste reduction and financial savings. Anna Travers stated that RDD Textiles has seen an average reduction of 30% in their timings thanks to digitised production and sampling methods. In turn, Lara Mazzoni highlighted how BODI.ME’s innovative size and fit technology helps to reduce waste by at least 30% – 40%. The solution gathers precise measurement data from customers, enabling designers to fine-tune manufacturing specifications and accurately pre-determining the required sizes for each garment of a specific order, helping to minimize overproduction. Plus, a more accurate fit recommendations also help to reduce returns from the end users. This is good both from a materials and financial perspective, as highlighted by Richard Jessop of OPITEX, whose 3D design tools and patternmaking system helps to streamline production methods.
Still, in spite of the huge benefits, changing systems to incorporate these technologies can sound very daunting and costly to some companies. Many professional clothing businesses have been around for decades but as the summit’s chairperson, Elena Lai, Secretary General of the European Textile Service Association (ETSA) highlighted, our industry needs to digitise to survive in a fast-changing, global economy.
That does not mean that companies need to change everything all at once. Digitisation can happen in small steps. Businesses need to consider what systems they require most urgently than others and then, with one eye on the future, build their digital journey from there. Adaptable systems that can grow or change as the business develops, usually represent a good investment. Tools like Bodi.Me’s Size-Me platform can very easily be integrated into any size business at any stage of their digitisation. Whether you are a fully vertically integrated business or an artisan tailor, the Size-Me tool is precisely adapted by Bodi.Me’s skilled team to each company’s needs. It is easy to implement and doesn’t need to be integrated with any other systems to function perfectly and start saving time and money.
Don’t get held back. Digitalisation does not need to be daunting, or costly. Businesses just need to take small, key steps and they will find that they have made strides into the future.
To read more about the PCIAW summit, which took place in Porto, Portugal from 7 – 9 November 2023, visit: https://pciaw.org/summit/
Here are Lara’s 5 top tips for beginning the digitisation journey:
- Start Smart:
Digitisation doesn’t have to happen all at once or be overwhelming. If you don’t have inhouse capacity use a recommended expert. Begin by identifying the most pressing digitisation needs in your business and consider systems that can be implemented gradually, whilst providing immediate improvements.
- Critical ROI & Cost Saving:
Prioritise which systems or processes urgently require digitisation, and that will offer the highest ROI immediately. Begin with these and gradually build on them. Having a clear vision of the most critical areas will help guide your digital journey.
- Invest in Adaptable Solutions:
Look for digital tools and systems that are flexible and adaptable to your evolving business needs. Solutions that can grow alongside your business are often a wise investment. Bodi.Me’s Size-Me platform is an adaptable tool that can be integrated easily at any stage of your digitisation journey.
- Ease of Implementation:
Choose digital tools that are user-friendly and can seamlessly be incorporated into your current operations without requiring complex integrations with other systems. Bodi.Me’s Size-Me tool, for instance, is designed for easy implementation, requiring no intricate system integration to begin yielding time and cost savings.
- Embrace Incremental Change:
Understand that embracing digitisation doesn’t have to be overwhelming or expensive. By taking small, strategic steps, businesses can make significant strides into the future, optimizing processes, reducing waste, and enhancing overall efficiency.
Lara’s recommendations emphasise the importance of gradual but purposeful steps towards digitisation, highlighting the benefits of embracing solutions that are tailored to each company’s specific needs and growth stage.