If your supply chain isn’t already under the microscope, it soon will be. Apparel brands are working towards better supply chain transparency and net-zero emissions targets, spurred by several factors, including customer demands and the upcoming EU Digital Product Passport rollout. Although labels and trim only play a small part in your manufacturing process, it’s critical to understand the impact they have.
When it comes to the complex issue of supply chains, brands aren’t just evaluating ethics — they also want to reduce risk. After all, they’re still reeling from the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 and the bottlenecks and potential liabilities it uncovered in their production locations.
Brands are moving from an offer-based strategy to a demand-driven one by diversifying their manufacturing locations (AKA ‘nearshoring’). And the benefits are worth their weight in gold. Nearshoring allows them to be more reactive to business and geo-political issues, whilst having potential upsides for their sustainability initiatives.
Discover the business benefits and ethical benefits of nearshoring and why it's the only way to go if you want to boost revenue while saving the planet.
What are the business benefits of nearshoring?
Jump on trends faster
Fashion moves super fast nowadays; keeping up with new colors, styles, and fits is particularly tricky. By nearshoring, you’d be able to supply products in weeks rather than months. It’s a demand-driven model which reduces the risk of anticipating fashion trends in advance because production can be made closer to the season.
Retailers and fashion brands need as much flexibility as possible to run their operations in the value chain if they want to maximize full-value sales. Nearshoring operations allow them to arrange their production with a better understanding of consumer wants and needs.
For retailers already using RFID labeling, the ability to jump on a trend comes with added intelligence. Using the data gathered from your intelligent inventory control system means you can react to these trends and plan ahead by using accurate and real-time stock data. Isn't it lucky that we supply embedded RFID inlays and tags, too?
Check out RFID intelligent labels
Quicker delivery time
By producing and manufacturing trim items close to needlepoint, you can dramatically slash the time taken to deliver your orders. This allows you to be more flexible and order on a just-in-time basis which frees up working capital. Better yet, you won’t waste time and money on items that’ll soon be changed or obsolete, so you can reduce your environmental impact.
Easy, breezy production planning
Offshoring requires large production commitments from brands and retailers. For trend-lead lines, it’s tricky to accurately predict styles and volumes ahead of initial customer reaction. You end up with stock shortages on your best-selling lines and markdowns on the slow-selling lines. And that just isn’t disco.
With nearshoring, shorter production runs give you more styles faster. You won’t need to rely as much on high inventory levels which minimizes your risk. It also allows a wider product portfolio and availability at the point of sale to test consumer demand. Long story short, it’s a super flexible solution that makes ramp-up and ramp-down a total breeze.
What are the ethical benefits of local sourcing?
Smaller carbon footprint
According to a recent sustainability deep dive, decarbonizing the fashion supply chain could have the greatest impact on the industry’s carbon footprint. Excessive shipping is one of the biggest culprits, which is why a label partner close to needlepoint is so advantageous. Everything is right on your doorstep, with no extra overseas shipping needed!
Read more: How to stay sustainable when you can’t use recycled paper
Certified up to the eyeballs
Bigger companies are held to higher ethical standards than their smaller, more local counterparts. For example, here at Checkpoint, we hold Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audits for each of our overseas production locations. Our supply chain activities are all assessed in an ethical audit that includes labor rights, health and safety, and environmental ethics.
Believe it or not, there’s more. Our woven label plants are Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified by accredited independent auditors, and our main production locations are all FSC certified. Doesn’t matter which of our global facilities you’re sourcing from, you’re covered to the highest standard. That’s gotta be a weight off your shoulders, right?
See our certifications
Quicker and more sustainable
Not only are your labels covered by some of the most hardcore certifications in fashion, but you also gain the added advantage of supporting local trades while getting products and samples quicker.
While some supply chains require you to sit and wait for samples to be shipped from far off locations, your overseas teams can supply and source local materials and use local labor, complete with all the correct certifications. It’s cost-effective, more sustainable, and faster. Wins all around!
More adaptable to suit changes in packaging
Ever had to overhaul your garment labeling? It’s a big job, and it feels a whole lot bigger when you have to go through multiple companies to make it happen.
Many brands are reimagining their packaging to meet customer expectations around plastic reduction (we helped Sainsbury’s do this recently!). Even brands that didn’t have plans to revamp their packaging will need to make changes ahead of the DPP regulations. In situations like these, it’s so much easier to have a globally present expert on your side.
Instead of going through a handful of different companies to try and organize your packaging changes, a global label partner can help you plan, design, and roll out new labeling quickly, easily, and consistently.
Think you’ll be forced into a cookie-cutter process? Not with us. We work with hundreds of global brands, each with their own values, systems, and resources. It’s just not practical to try and force them all into one process. We’ve got decades of experience in labeling, so we’ve got the smarts to guide you and the skills to adapt.
But what about quality and consistency in my products?
Surely moving and diversifying production locations opens up a whole can of worms where quality and consistency are concerned? After all, consistent branding can be harder to guarantee when you work with a handful of smaller companies. On top of that, it's unlikely that labels from one country will match labels made by another company in another country. And as we all know, brand trust hinges on consistency! Don’t worry — we’ve got you.
Working with a global label partner like us means you get consistent digital color standards no matter where your labels are made. We’ve got 18 global production sites, and each one knows how to reproduce your brand colors across materials (including wovens). They all use the same processes, the same top-notch tech, and the same expert teams, so there’s no back-and-forth, wasted time, or weird-looking colors.
Working this way means you can source materials locally, too. We use our connections to root out local materials and alternatives to help you cut back on excessive shipping. On top of that, we’ll pull it all together for a globally consistent look. It's the best of local sourcing and global consistency in one (dare we say it) amazing label partner.
Want to find out more about our local teams or how we can help you reach your sustainability goals? Get in touch with us and ask away — we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.