TECH-TALK: HOW ON-DEMAND REALLY WORKS
- Identifying product category and distribution channel. The brand should decide which product to start manufacturing on-demand and which distribution channel to pursue.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s use an example of a denim brand introducing an on-demand denim collection that will sell solely online.
- Identifying customization depth. The brand can decide on any level of customization from deep-customization (on a measurements and pattern level) to simply providing length, colour, wash and finish options.
In our example, let’s say the brand chooses deep customization, taking new measurements and reworking the patterns every time a new order is made, creating a unique pair of jeans for any body type from scratch.
- Estimating technological scope of work. Depending on the current digital capabilities of the brand, selling on-demand might require deploying additional technology, such as backend order configuration module, online measurements-taking software, 3D garment representation, and so on. Most of these blocks would already be included in a third-party/vendor offers. Therefore, the most crucial part of this step is identifying the right technology modules that would meet the brand’s needs.
In our example, the brand would need to add a new order placement technology to the website, including measurements-taking, online integration of the materials catalogue, and online order configuration. A 3D viewer would be a great addition to allow the customers to see a selected pair of jeans in action.
- Selecting the vendor. Once the product, customization level, and additional technological capabilities are finalized, the brand decides whether to develop the solution in-house or work with a vendor providing on-demand fashion solutions. It is imperative to match the technological scope of work and requirements to the vendors’ core capabilities.
In our example, the brand would select the vendor that, among other things, offers deep customization to carry measurements-taking, along with 3D body scan and 3D visualization functionality.
- Collecting and transforming the data. At this step, the brand works closely with the third party of choice, providing the required data. The data is collected using a template and it includes measurement grids, garment characteristics (name, product type, components, etc.), pattern files and drawings, tech packs, fabric samples, DXF files for 3D. Sidenote: DXF is a standard format for CAD design across all industries. OBJ format (standard file format for 3D objects) is used for the garment 3D models.
- Delivering the The 3rd party will deploy and test the solution at this stage, providing necessary training and guidance.
- Rolling out the solution in all points of sales and geographies, e-commerce and offline. At this stage, the solution will enter the scaling and maintenance phase.
An average on-demand pilot project will take anywhere from several months to about a year.