In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and ethical issues in the fashion industry, clothing manufacturers have much to consider when deciding how to make their products.
Everyone from Amazon to Vogue is reveling in the new on-demand manufacturing craze. This on-demand model is taking the fashion industry by storm and can provide solutions to many of the problems that make up a business today.
Much like the rise of Uber as a solution to cabs and Airbnb to hotels, on-demand manufacturing seems to be a rising global trend looking to change the apparel industry.
What is On-Demand Manufacturing?
On-demand manufacturing is a type of manufacturing in which products are produced only when needed. In the fashion world, this is also called "Made to Order."
Here, brands do not send the product they need to the manufacturer until the customer orders the product directly. This often includes paying for goods upfront.
It also leads to longer waiting times for customers because the manufacturer has not yet produced the product when the order is placed.
The on-demand manufacturing model differs from conventional products that are often based on seasonal products that manufacturers want buyers to purchase. One problem with this production method is that it often causes a lot of dead products and waste.
Wholesale production also affects product quality as production lines rush to meet seasonal quotas. On-demand manufacturing eliminates storing products while waiting for customers to order. Therefore, all products are designed according to the customer's needs.
In terms of production, this allows more time for the order to be delivered as it is not seasonal. This could mean creating a clearer or better product.
It is also a way to shorten the time-to-market. On-demand manufacturing has become more relevant in recent years as manufacturers seek to reshape their business models and put ethics and economics at the forefront.
Benefits of On-Demand Manufacturing
On-demand manufacturing is taking over the fashion industry as smaller brands look to meet consumer demands while remaining profitable. And even some larger brands are getting in on this trend.
Let's examine some of the benefits of on-demand clothing production and what it means for the future of the fashion industry.
1. Delivers an Ethical Alternative for Designers
On-demand manufacturing is more ethical and sustainable.
It reduces pollution and energy usage by only shipping products that suppliers and retailers will use and sell. It also means that designers can invest more in their designs.
It also "slows down" fashion to save time and reduce the risk of production in unregulated facilities. Given the ethical need, this "slow" model can deliver ethically made clothing garments faster.
2. Generates Less Waste
Reducing waste is one of the main benefits of the demand model. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. landfills receive millions of tons of waste each year.
With on-demand manufacturing, clothing brands only produce what customers already bought. This reduces excess material that would normally go to landfills. In turn, this reduces the cost of production.
3. Improves Manufacturer Relationships
On-demand manufacturing improves relationships between manufacturers and designers because designers can offer higher-cost orders with advanced notice. This means that its factory does not need to hire seasonal workers to make its products. It provides a similar opportunity for the production company, resulting in a more ethical approach to hiring and not having to worry about the job for the time needed.
4. Produces High-Quality Pieces
Shorter lead times and longer production times mean that on-demand products are often better than wholesale products. Designers can announce production times to customers in advance, giving designers and manufacturers time to make sure their designs result in the best possible quality products.
5. Delivers More Control Over Your Business
One of the main benefits of on-demand manufacturing is that it gives designers more control over their products. In the wholesale market, business owners often respond to the needs of the business by keeping clothing racks stocked, creating dead stock of unsold items.
However, while following the on-demand production model, clothing brands know exactly what they need. It eliminates dead stock and gives retailers better control over their business.
It also helps businesses stay aware of changing trends so they can quickly sell products that meet their needs without waiting for seasonal changes.
6. Provides More Opportunities for Manufacturers
On-demand manufacturing models are not just useful for designers. Manufacturers facing a lower season due to wholesale orders also benefit greatly.
By automating the on-demand production process, manufacturers can prepare their products with advance notice and lead time. This also ensures that factories hire skilled garment workers instead of seasonal workers, which promotes morale and good work practices for all involved.
7. Jump-Starts Your Business
One of the most challenging parts of the business is starting your design from scratch and bringing it to life. On-demand manufacturing is a low-risk way to put designs into practice because it doesn't rely on large initial investments in inventory.
The manufacturer does not take any responsibility if the products are not as expected. Finally, on-demand production is also beneficial through online "just-in-time" ordering, which allows you to quickly and effectively build a network of customers to start your business.
Advancing Technologies Improve On-Demand Manufacturing Models
Several new technologies are available that facilitate on-demand production. At CreateMe Technologies, we use cloud-based technology to help deliver designs on demand. Our platform allows you to make 3D models of your products with the option of taking custom orders.
You can save order information such as fabric description, quantity, color, price, and delivery information. This means all your order information is available and ready to use if you need to ship another order quickly.
Simply use the drag-and-drop feature to include relevant files into your tech pack and send them off for manufacturing CreateMe makes it easier than ever to offer custom on-demand fashions.
See CreateMe in action. Book a demo today and see how we can transform your online shopping platform.