Textile, Apparel and Footwear Industry


The challenges for companies in the textile, apparel and footwear value chain a spanning from commercial, innovation, operations to social and environmental topics. An ever growing complexity and rate of change makes things even more tricky to control. Companies that want to operate successfully and sustainably need to do more than just securing profitability and cash flow.
The value chain of the textile, apparel and footwear industry is still considered to be one of the most environmentally polluting one (after Oil & Gas) and is challenged with immense social compliance risks.


The Top 10 challenges in the textile, apparel and footwear industry 2017-2020

    Executives and decision makers in the industry, quote the following challenges as most important to address between 2017 - 2020:

  • #1 Managing in VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) times90%
  • #2 Regional shift of demand85%
  • #3 Sustainable growth of revenue, profit and liquidityt80%
  • #4 Acceleration of the fashion cycle75%
  • #5 Sustainable supplier development60%
  • #6 High Performance Supply Chain50%
  • #7 Omnichannel strategy and execution40%
  • #8 Capturing digitalization opportunities30%
  • #9 Regional expansion20%
  • #10 Mastering agile innovation10%
  • Source: svc Research (as of 12-2016)


In order to remain competitive in this environment, companies need business-, operating- and capability models that can quickly adapt to new requirements and can support attractive and 'fresh' collections, fast and innovative designs, cost effective procurement and suppliers that are able to deliver against high standards.

Leading companies are proactively addressing the challenges and focusing on building and strengthening their own abilities:

    Increased brand value and performance through an integrated value creation strategy:
  • Increase the brand value by simultaneously considering economic, societal and environmental value creation
  • Compliance with existing standards and proactively addressing new legal, regulatory and stakeholder requirements
  • Improved product availability and fulfiment across all sales channels: control of global availability, inventory positioning and replenishment control
  • Improving capabilities of internal teams through investment in trainings and capacity buidling

  • Development of new market potentials through sustainable product innovation:
  • Product design for circularity to reduce cost and impact to environment and society.
  • The ability to quickly adjust product designs and supply chain through instant product feedback loops

  • Becoming a more agile and responsive organization through sustainable operations:
  • Quickly identify changes in customer demand across all sales channels
  • The ability to ensure product design, planning and supply also in new markets
  • The ability to provide an optimal customer experience across all sales channels: availability, inventory management and customer experience

  • Reduction of cost and resource intensity through sustainable cost reduction:
  • Exploiting the opportunities of digitalisation and changing customer behavior
  • Brand protection through transparent and sustainable supply chains

  • Development of suppliers to improve productivity, innovation, social standards and environmental management through sustainable supplier development:
  • Risk minimization of the brand, ie the active avoidance of scandals in the product and in the supply chain
  • Improve working conditions at suppliers, by introducing extensive work standards
  • Improvement of wages at suppliers by switching off middle-men
  • Increased transparency and compliance with standards in the supply chain
  • Reduction of material use and improvement of production processes (water, waste, pesticides, chemicals, ...)