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How to get fabrics right the first time

In the fashion world, it’s virtually impossible to create products that meet consumer expectations and maintain a competitive edge without the right raw materials. As the first element in the highly complex fashion supply chain, raw materials make up the majority of production costs—up to 70%—while accounting for half of all quality issues.

In the current supply chain environment, increasing logistical challenges and constant price battles make it more important than ever to get fabric right from the start through the careful management of raw materials. Consumers today are also demanding products that meet their expectations in terms of quality and sustainability—and they have more power than ever to share their experiences with others.

Ultimately, the right management of raw materials can help brands and retailers save millions of dollars in preventative costs and protect brand reputation in a noisy marketplace.


Prevention is always better than cure

In the garment industry, the quality of each finished product is directly related to the quality of the fabric when it’s received as a roll. Even if manufacturers work with state-of-the-art equipment and utilize the most exemplary manufacturing methods, these won’t correct the effects of using defective, non-performing, or non-compliant raw materials.

While many final-product quality issues experienced by textile factories result from inadequate raw materials being passed down the production line, some factory managers don’t realize that these problems are easily avoidable. Ensuring that the properties of each fabric are compatible with the intentions of the end-use garment can—and should—be technically evaluated at the beginning of the creation process.


Engage with your consumers

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers can easily share their opinions about products in public forums, making it more vital than ever for fashion brands and retailers to listen to this feedback and integrate it into the selection and improvement of raw materials. Keeping this dialogue open will allow you to understand your consumers’ expectations and be clear on the requirements of your raw materials, so you can get the fit and comfort of your products just right—and inspire positive feedback.

Essentially, working with better raw materials will:


Start at the source

Raw materials in fashion go through numerous steps before the finished product is ready to sell, making visibility a challenge for brands and retailers. However, ensuring that the highest standards are set and achieved from the beginning is critical. It’s important to adopt a boots-on-the-ground approach and map the entire supply chain from the start of the development process—from sourcing raw fibers to garment production and beyond. This will allow you to implement effective quality management systems from the foundation stage that significantly improve operational performance while saving time and money and leading to higher-quality goods.

Performing a complete evaluation will reveal any non-compliance issues and enable you to implement a preventive action plan to resolve them. Some of these solutions include:

Applied together, these can significantly improve quality, cost, time, and customer satisfaction.


Reducing risks also delivers benefits

Improving overall quality output from the raw materials stage also works with sustainability and traceability objectives, ensuring you always know where your raw materials have come from and how they’ve been produced.

Managing raw materials quality generally involves two key elements:

  1. Quality should be embedded in the product across design, conception, and the selection of trims and materials. Quality output can be improved by working from as early as possible in the supply chain by:
  1. Addressing raw materials quality enables you to enhance sustainability and traceability. Concentrating on the raw materials supply chain will also generate:


A dedicated raw materials approach

Through SgT’s many years of experience in textile quality, our team has learned that it’s vitally important to care about raw materials. For that reason, we’ve introduced a complete suite of services to assist our partners in the quality management of their raw materials. Our solutions include:

Interested in finding out more about our raw materials solutions?

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