The industry is at a crossroads. Today’s culprit: uncertainty. There is no clear crisis at hand, and yet we remain in a fragile and complex state of flux. Though this holding pattern includes the hope of AI innovation and digital transformation across the supply chain, we also do not want to fall victim to the same patterns and behaviors that have fueled a seemingly endless cycle of booms and busts. It is a time to re-evaluate, re-examine and rewrite our playbooks. This year we look back on the resilience forged through adversity, how to maximize your limited capital and best plan for the future, whatever it may bring.
How AI can help transform the supply chain
Maximizing the post-purchase journey
Macro-level sourcing update
The logistics landscape
How policies and politics are impacting trade
Inventory issues and how to manage them
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again.
It seems like just yesterday I was feeling the anticipation of summer, yet, somehow we’re already facing the dog days of August, and the lion’s share of my time is spent assembling a standout lineup for our annual Fall Summit.
Perhaps the isolation of the pandemic has shifted our perspective in some way, or the remoteness many of us feel in working from home has left us detached. Even at the office, once bustling hallways now reverberate echoes of a busier time, and we often hear our solitary footsteps making our way through them.
These kinds of thoughts call forth the realization that our opportunities to gather, as a community, have taken on greater importance. Where we once took brainstorming sessions and camaraderie for granted, now we must make a point, make an effort, to come together as colleagues and pool our learnings, share our connections and strengthen the bonds that have held this industry together.
So much of all our working hours (I presume) are spent communicating via screens and keyboards. I believe this has come at a cost. Our minds are at their most fertile with stimulation and rapt attention.
“Networking” was something I long considered a necessary evil, or business speak for looking where the grass might be greener. I no longer attach that stigma. I have come to understand that a handshake and some small talk can often carry deeper meaning and enhance connections in myriad ways that are not always obvious.
It is with this in mind that I extend an invitation to join us for our annual Fall Summit,
the “Super Bowl of Sourcing,” on Nov. 2 in New York City.
Of course, we will have a stellar lineup of executives and thought leaders from a wide swath of our industry speaking on the most relevant topics. And of course, the venue at Cipriani 42nd Street is world class.
I will offer my pitch on the programming and the education as the event draws nearer. For now, I’ll just proffer a reminder of how nice it feels to be around friends, to see familiar faces, trade war stories and catch up with acquaintances.
While attendance is not mandatory or compulsory, I can assure you the effort will be more than worth your while. Looking forward to sharing some small talk together.
Editor in Chief
Sourcing: Sustainable Foundation There’s no better indicator of the strengths and challenges facing our industry than to look at the upstream manufacturers that are the engine of commerce. Sustainability is at the core of this mission. From energy efficiency, to cleaner, traceable inputs and textiles, the demand for environmentally-friendly production has never been higher. As more scrutiny descends on the industry, this panel will outline best practices, workable solutions and pitfalls to avoid on your journey.
The State of Sourcing From buyer-supplier relationships, payment terms, volatile shipping rates and labor issues, the sourcing matrix has never been more difficult to navigate. This panel of on-the-ground-experts will take a deep dive into how nearshoring is changing the landscape, the biggest challenges they are faced with on a day-to-day basis, as well as offer an outlook on what’s coming next.
So You’re Compliant, Can You Prove It? With a spate of recent legislation and more on the way targeting everything from sustainability claims to the use of forced labor, having the burden of proof on your side has become an integral challenge for our industry. Are you doing the necessary due diligence to back up your claims? Do you have visibility throughout your supply chain? Will your shipments make it through Customs? Join this panel to find out how you can answer ‘yes’ to all of the above.
The Transaction Doesn’t End with the Sale From tracking shipments and managing expectations to customer retention and returns, the relationship between buyer and seller doesn’t end at the checkout counter. Learn how to strengthen loyalty, improve customer satisfaction, and ensure repeat business with simple steps and processes that both cut costs and lead to repeat business.
The Politics of Trade CAFTA, USMCA, AGOA… the acronyms can be confusing, but understanding how all these trade pacts affect the dynamics of our industry is critical. Add to that the extra uncertainty that comes along with an election year and planning and forecasting becomes an even more complex equation. Hear from the experts on where we are headed, what to keep an eye on regarding policy and how you can best be prepared.
Scaling Circularity with Recover This case study from recycled textiles manufacturer Recover takes a deep dive into the ongoing process of closing the loop. From the challenges of making circular change at scale to the benefits for both environment and business, Recover and one of its retail partners will discuss the intricacies of producing in a more sustainable manner in a way that benefits your bottom line.
The Sweet Spot Are you making the most of your pricing power? Is your current cost structure hurting or helping sales at retail? Do you know precisely when to markdown goods and by how much? In this panel, Centric Software will discuss the best way to manage your inventory to be sure you see the highest ROI possible on every transaction.
Managing for the Future with an Uncertain Present Running your business is never a simple task. Add to that a global pandemic, war in Europe, rapid inflation and natural disasters and it borders on the impossible. In this candid conversation, executives from denim manufacturing powerhouse Soorty reflect on how to stay cool when things get hot, the pressing need for a focus on sustainability and why Pakistan is an underutilized asset in your sourcing matrix.
Revealing the Hidden Truths of Your Supply Chain and the Cost of Ignorance
Ignorance can be a costly mistake. In the clash between compliance and cost efficiency, having a clear view of your supply chain is paramount. Join us for an exclusive discussion on the power of visibility and risk mitigation. Discover how a digital platform and on-the-ground expertise can expose hidden truths, optimize costs and safeguard your business's success.
What Can AI Do for Sourcing?
It can create designs, moderate customer service chats and create short-form videos for TikTok—but what’s the use case for AI in sourcing? Experts are already using the technology to respond to consumer demand, improve profitability and reduce waste—some are even leaning on a “creation-to-closet” model that operates without inventory to help fashion companies sell before they make. Hear leaders in the field discuss the current realities, potential and how AI can curb fashion’s issue with excess and improve sustainability industry-wide.
Closing the Loop: Benchmarking Circularity
In this data-packed conversation, Cotton Incorporated’s director of corporate strategy & insights Melissa Bastos and director of brand partnerships Andrea Samber will provide an update on the state of circularity. This panel will present findings from a joint Cotton Incorporated and Sourcing Journal industry survey, as well as consumer insights from Cotton Incorporated’s research. The team will also dive into how the organization’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program supports waste reduction by providing a path for used denim. You’ll come away with an understanding of what the industry and consumers are saying—and doing—when it comes to circularity.
Unlocking Efficiencies with Automation
For all the fears about machines replacing humans, fashion’s implementation of automation actually boosts human efforts at all job levels. From eliminating the specialized hurdles of 3D design to managing inventory with smarter planning and replenishment, these automated systems consistently unlock efficiencies along the supply chain—improving process costs, speed to market, data insights, and ultimately sustainability. This panel looks at how the latest technologies are changing how our industry works and provides insight into how to best assimilate the latest advances into your current workflow.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
Industry professionals from sectors including apparel, compliance, denim, fashion, footwear, freight forwarding, home, logistics, manufacturing, retail, software, sourcing, supply chain, sustainability, technology, testing, textiles, traceability, and more!
Titles: Account Executive, Buyer, CEO, CFO, Chief Sustainability Officer, Chairman, CMO, Controller, COO, Creative Director, Director of Business Development, Economist, EVP (Sourcing), Founder, Global Supply Chain Director, GM & Head of Retail, GM of Logistics, Head of Operations, Managing Partner, Marketing Manager, Merchandising Manager, President, Production Manager, Senior Director (Design), Senior Manager, SVP of Global Value Chain, SVP of Corporate Responsibility, SVP Operations and Logistics, Vice President of e-Commerce, and more!
Click on each session for an expanded overview of the agenda