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How Zyod is living in the future and solving B2B fashion manufacturing

Summary

Zyod overcomes inefficiencies in B2B fashion by standardising processes, using data to predict demand and building modular attributes to reduce backend processing times. While modernising the supply chain with technology, it is also building and maintaining underlying relationships to create trust with its manufacturers and customers. Its journey is an example of how technology is enabling the disruption of fast-moving but traditional industries such as fashion.

How Zyod is living in the future and solving B2B fashion manufacturing

Zyod overcomes inefficiencies in B2B fashion by standardising processes, using data to predict demand and building modular attributes to reduce backend processing times. While modernising the supply chain with technology, it is also building and maintaining underlying relationships to create trust with its manufacturers and customers. Its journey is an example of how technology is enabling the disruption of fast-moving but traditional industries such as fashion.

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Country: 
Crossborder
Date: 
May 30, 2024
Reading Time:
6 minutes
Intro image.

The US-based apparel retail giant Gap went through a supply chain crisis in 2021. Its factories in Vietnam, which accounted for 30% of its production, were forced to shut shop as an impact of the pandemic. This led to delays in the shipping of inventory and forced the retailer to invest about $450 million to lift freight by air and ensure shelves were stacked during the crucial holiday season.

This is not an isolated or unique event. Other large brands, such as Nike, Adidas, H&M and Zara, have experienced similar issues and delays. For an industry nearly as old as time, it may come as a surprise that it hasn’t been able to smoothen out logistical inefficiencies. 

The global fashion industry was estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2023. Post the pandemic, China’s waning dominance in garment manufacturing has created an opportunity for other countries to step in. The rise of e-commerce post-pandemic has disrupted traditional fashion supply chains, forcing brands to seek new, reliable solutions.

India is well-positioned to cater to this burgeoning need. In the high-velocity fashion industry, building a cross-border B2B enterprise requires confronting a three-body problem: cost, quality, and lead time. 

Lead time is the total time taken for an order to be processed, fulfilled, and delivered to the customer. For buyers, a long lead time makes forecasting production timelines and resource allocation difficult and unpredictable. This can lead to missed deadlines, frustrated customers, and lost revenue.

This is where Zyod steps in. It bridges the gap in apparel sourcing by streamlining the manufacturing supply chain and fostering a global network connecting buyers and sellers. Through its ability to inject predictability into a historically volatile market, it has cut down sourcing timelines by 75%, from six months to less than 45 days. 

The opportunity

It is anticipated that India's total textile exports will grow at a 10% CAGR from FY20, reaching $190 billion by FY26. However, the manufacturing and supply is fragmented and non-standardised. It involves a careful coordination of design, sourcing materials, manufacturing, logistics, and retail to ensure timely delivery and high-quality products.

The fashion industry is also facing challenges with rapidly changing consumer preferences and unpredictable trends. Fluctuations in weather, cultural influences, and even social media trends are impacting consumer choices. The fast fashion model expects quick turnaround times, which leads to frequent production cycles. This can strain resources and the pressure to cut costs and produce cheap garments often results in subpar quality.

So how does Zyod tackle all these unpredictable issues?

“Consistent quality, no matter the industry,” is the mantra Ankit Jaipuria, co-founder at Zyod, swears by. And that quality is achieved by two things: standardisation and predictability. 

Zyod created a standardised supply chain to empower small and medium enterprises (SME) manufacturers in India, which are largely fragmented. With its in-house enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, Ankit explains, Zyod standardised everything from the point at which raw material comes in, to where finished goods or garment products get packed and dispatched. 

Building predictable processes

Every brand will have unique customisation demands. This is time-consuming and makes it difficult to build a predictable way to create products at scale. 

Zyod has used technology to get around this issue and reduce the lead time from around six months to less than 45 days. "We have broken down subjective styles into objective attributes," explains Ankit. This means deconstructing garments into measurable components like necklines, colours, patterns, and fabric types.  

“We have also modularised the style of each garment,” says Ankit. What this means is that Zyod’s backend breaks down each garment into its core building blocks digitally. Think collars, sleeves, bodies, silhouettes, and so on.  

As an example, consider a shirt with six components. Changing a single component, such as swapping a short sleeve for a long sleeve, creating a slim fit in polka dots instead of stripes, or using linen instead of polyester, can create a new design without starting from scratch. This permutation and combination approach allows for faster design iteration and reduced waste.

This is how Zyod cuts down the turnaround time to fulfil orders faster. “So if you go from one factory to the next, the process is the same from needle and fabric to stitching. It ensures consistent supply quality for the customer,” Ankit adds. 

Gallery 01 photo.
Gallery 01 photo.Gallery 01 photo.

The SKU-isation of apparel manufacturing

The lack of standardisation is the Achilles' heel for the fashion industry vendors.

“In traditional businesses like fashion, you go through an approach where you first standardise the supply. That brings in long-term value. Getting demand is easy, but sustaining it is difficult,” he adds.  

Fast fashion’s need for frequent adjustments to production lines leads to downtime, retraining costs, and lost production time. Specialised processes or machines for new designs can further bottleneck production. The unpredictable nature of trends also makes overstocking a constant threat, tying up resources and hindering the ability to scale the production of hot-selling products.

For success in apparel manufacturing, it's crucial to control the supply, standardise your timelines, quality, and deliverables, and build trust with your buyer. Because B2B enterprises are always growing as a function of the average order value expansion. Brands first test a small portion of a non-strategic filler order to check their delivery timelines. 

Zyod standardises manufacturing by building consistent workflows across design, quality, control, and logistics, and works with customers to forecast order volumes. 

It reverse engineers the demand to determine the number of machines needed for a large order (e.g. 100 machines for 20,000 pieces). This helps it allocate the optimal number of machines required for different order sizes, whether large or small. This ensures efficient resource allocation and avoids production bottlenecks.

Setting up a base to foster trust

The cornerstone of apparel sourcing is trust. As Ankit says, "Fashion is a relationship business."

“Founders need to spend time in a new region with the salesperson and pass it on once there is a set of standard practices" - Ankit

Zyod has established a strong presence in India, exporting to 13 countries. While further expansion is on the table, Ankit emphasises the importance of careful planning. He believes successful cross-border expansion in their industry hinges on securing relationships with "anchor clients" — established local brands with high growth potential.

Apart from the slightly nuanced, customised PMF, there are the first principles of most businesses looking to expand their footprint outside their native market. 

  1. A "push sales" strategy to build relationships. This involves a dedicated local sales team regularly engaging clients with new catalogues, fostering closer relationships, and maximising their spending with Zyod. 
  2. Founder-led sales to create the right nudge for the products amongst buyers and customers. “Founders need to spend time in a new region with the salesperson and pass it on once there is a set of standard practices,” Ankit adds.
  3. Local presence only after a base layer of customers. The decision to open a local office depends on finding a balance between the right customers and an upfront investment in finding talent for local sales. If done right, businesses typically recover this investment within about six months. 

As the industry evolves to cater to different demands every season, knowing that you have a cost-effective, high-quality and quick delivery backbone can be the game changer for the ecosystem. 

#B2B #marketplace #crossborder #trade #fashion #apparel #manufacturing 

Gallery 02 photo.
Gallery 02 photo.Gallery 02 photo.
Gallery 02 photo.Gallery 02 photo.Gallery 02 photo.

All views and thoughts expressed herein are the personal opinion of the author and should not be construed as any advice, financial or otherwise. Any reliance placed on this content must be at your sole prerogative and basis your own independent judgement.