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Consumer-driven re-engineering of the distribution network in the apparel industry

Exploitable results

CODE is a distribution management system for the apparel industry which streamlines and renders more efficient the entire process, to the benefit of supplier and customer alike. Its Efficient Consumer Response strategy focuses on the efficiency of the whole supply system rather than on single components of it. The driving event which governs the distribution network is sale to customers, rather than delivery to points of sale or distributors. With a methodology which couples process re-engineering and information technology (IT), manufacturers and retailers are integrated into an intelligent distribution system, allowing stock levels to be optimized in terms of quantity and type, whilst permitting the timely supply of the appropriate items to outlets. Points of sale can thus offer customers an always-available choice of goods which accurately reflects the real demand of the moment. With CODE, stock levels are reduced, availability is optimized, sales are increased. CODE has been successfully piloted by Fashion Box, an Italian clothing manufacturer and distributor. It is suitable for any manufacturer or distributor in the apparel industry with links to either single-brand or multi-brand retail outlets. Benefits are gained even at relatively low levels of sales, and rise as the scale increases. With its related, but optional, internet-based ordering suite (CODE POO, Point Of Ordering), it offers a complete, yet highly modular system that fits any manufacturing-distribution-retail situation in the apparel industry.
CODE POO (point of order) is an Internet-based ordering suite that acts as an add-on to existing electronic ordering systems, extending their capabilities of accepting orders via Internet using a web browser. Using these tools, a retailer can enter an order directly to a supplier's system without having to follow more lengthy procedures, using accurate data every time since the ordering catalogue, prices and stock levels are dynamically updated and always reflect the current status of the supplier-distributor. Additionally the suite provides the supplier-distributor with the tools needed to manage and configure these new services in order to satisfy continuously his requirements. Fashion Box, an Italian clothing manufacturer and distributor, has successfully piloted CODE POO.. It is suitable for any manufacturer or distributor in the apparel industry, but it can also be easily applied to manufacturers or distributors in other domains.