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by Fernando Moncayo Castillo, Co-founder & Managing Director, Inspectorio

Industry View from

How smart apparel inspections improves product quality

Supply chains are the backbone of brand and retailer operations, and more visibility into product quality is essential to their success.

 

Many industry supply chains, apparel included, have sporadic inspection and product quality records that lead to inconsistent product quality. This creates many challenges for brands and retailers, whose loyal customers trust them to deliver the highest quality apparel and garments possible. Customers also increasingly care more about the values of the brands and retailers they buy from rather than just purchasing on price, so the implications for brands and retailers are clear. They need to excel at responsible sourcing and sustainability, starting with continual improvements to product quality, to keep the customers they have and attract new ones in the future. Supply chain networks need to provide greater visibility into every aspect of operations, from initial sourcing to the last mile, including fulfillment.

 

Factories that comprise apparel supply chains are remote and rely on manual-based audit, inspection, and quality management systems that don’t scale across multiple locations. As a result, brands and retailers don’t have the visibility they need to track and trace supplier problems that run multiple layers deep into their supply chains. Inspections are often done only at the end of a production run, which further reduces the amount and value of product quality and data that brands and retailers get.

 

The quality of inspections also needs to increase, with inspectors better matched to specific product lines based on their expertise, with a better audit trail of their activity to ensure inspections happen when scheduled. Manually based, inconsistent inspection and quality techniques deliver mediocre products that often have customer return rates of 10 percent or more. Not meeting customer expectations for quality is bad enough, but when there isn’t enough audit, compliance, and quality data to verify that sustainability and responsible sourcing is being achieved, customers’ trust in a brand can be impacted. These challenges and more are what make scaling quality in a sustainable world so difficult.

 

The vast network of factories, suppliers, vendors, and inspection agencies that together comprise apparel supply chains need a secure cloud platform that allows audits, compliance, inspection, and quality data to be scaled globally. There needs to be a cloud-based operating system that enables every member of a supply chain to see, in real time, how their materials’ product quality and production activities impact everyone else. That’s the only way brands and retailers will be able to continually improve product quality while at the same time reaching their sustainability and responsible sourcing goals.

 

Any cloud-based operating system providing real-time visibility can deliver proactive business outcomes based on predictive analytics and machine learning. Taken together, these technologies integrated on a cloud platform are essential for earning and growing customer trust. The cloud platform or operating system needs to aggregate audit, inspection, and product quality data and continually “learn” from it, constantly looking for new patterns in the data.

 

Machine learning is the ideal technology to ensure supply chains are always learning, as supervised and unsupervised learning together can spot existing patterns while discovering entirely new relationships in the data. The ultimate goal is to provide every member of a supplier network with the opportunity to be proactive in how they manage and lead every aspect of supply chain sustainability, transparency, and visibility.  

 

Inspectorio was born from the frustrations of serial entrepreneurs and industry leaders who had to deal with the slow, manual process of quality inspections, limited to no supply chain visibility and the impact of product returns. It was launched to automate inspections and create the cloud platform or operating system that supply chains need to improve product quality and sustainability and enable more responsible sourcing.

 

Inspectorio’s SIGHT and RISE, shown below, are proving to be very effective in creating a strong network effect across every supplier, vendor, factory, and inspection agency that together form diverse global supply chains. The Inspectorio platform delivers the insights needed to take proactive action and attain supply chain financial and sustainability goals at the same time. SIGHT and RISE are purpose built to enable every member of a supply chain to make positive contributions to the entire network.

The Inspectorio platform is used by many of the world’s most recognized retailers, brands, inspection agencies, vendors, and factories. Forbes recently published an article on how the platform’s use of machine learning is revolutionizing manufacturing inspections, product quality, and supply chain visibility.

 

Supply chains must continue to improve if they’re going to produce the quality of products customers want to buy. Customers are more discerning than ever about what they wear, expecting brands and retailers to excel at sustainability, responsible sourcing, and, above all, quality. They’re more aware of supply chain operations, even down to the critical last mile of delivery performance. Remote and relying on manual workflows, the majority of factories aren’t up to the challenge today.

 

Inspectorio is making a change by improving the performance and visibility of every factory. It has created a cloud platform that serves as a supply chain’s operating system, aggregating and analyzing inspection, compliance, and quality data and then providing prescriptive insights that lead to proactive decisions. By using its machine learning approaches to scheduling inspectors and defining when in a production process inspections need to occur, Inspectorio delivers value where it matters most: on the shop floor with every item or garment produced.


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Image provided by Inspectorio

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