August 25, 2020

Find Your Supply Chain's DNA

Ram Radhakrishnan

The human DNA, when arranged in a specific sequence, implies a genetic code that tells each cell what protein to produce. Similarly, each stakeholder in a supply chain needs to be told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Except, in supply chains, that genetic code is delivered via emails contained within Excels & PDF’s from one stakeholder to the next.

From the factory foreman to the freight forwarder, each and every stakeholder is manually informed via emails about the task ahead of them. Specifically in fashion & footwear supply chains that SILQ specializes in, the process of conveying design inputs and producing a sample from the designer to the factory floor can take upwards of 30 to 45 days. Total production from the product conception to final delivery can take anywhere between 120 to 180 days.

In a world wherein a pandemic like COVID can completely upend our lives in a matter of weeks, a 180 day lead time to make a product, poses existential risk to any business. The domino effect from the retailer to the fashion brand, the fashion brand to the factory, the factory to the raw material supplier, the raw material supplier to the line worker has surfaced the ugly side of capitalism. The number of brands that have gone bankrupt up and down the value chain is gut wrenching. Yet, the answer to how we could have all overcome some widespread despondency continues to elude the best of us. While we do not have a silver bullet for how this catastrophe (strictly from an economic standpoint) could have been prevented, we do have a path for recovery.


The future of supply chains sits with brands who can shave off 2/3rds of the lead time from 180 days to 60 days. We at SILQ have the people, process and technology to help fashion brands systematically speed up their supply chains. Aside from the one golden rule in retail - turning inventory faster, this strategy also reduces inventory risk, enabling both the brands and factory to run smaller production runs and keep replenishing as needed. This mitigates risk for the brand, the factory, the raw material supplier and the line worker. This way, no one stakeholder is stuck holding the bag, alone, helpless and despondent at the end of the day. The future is inclusive, efficient and built on goodwill and we hope to help brands achieve meaningful success in this journey.

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