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Fast Fashion: Streaming analytics, the need of the hour

Streaming analytics is having a huge impact on the fast fashion retail segment, from customer experience to supply chain management. Streaming analytics is about to transform the fashion industry as a need to analyse data in motion becomes critical for everything from optimising the supply chain through to improving overall customer experience.

Neil Hicks, CEO of Pandesco, a provider of IT services focusing primarily on the fashion industry discloses explains, “Manufacturers of apparel have been applying analytics using batch processes, but as demand for more custom products and services has increased there’s a growing need to be able to optimise manufacturing lines.” The rise of fast fashion, in particular, is putting pressure on supply chains. Apparel manufacturers need to be able to optimise manufacturing lines to deliver the right amount of product based on the latest fashions to hit the runway. That creates an acute need to be able to apply analytics in real time to create more accurate demand forecasts.

Hicks advises manufacturers to make dynamic adjustments to their e-commerce sites to prevent customers from ordering a product that is only going to be available on back order when there isn’t enough material on hand to manufacture it. Streaming analytics will play a significant role in logistics. Rather than relying on store managers to know when to replenish stocks, real-time analytics should enable the distributor to automatically replenish an item whenever it’s out of stock by redirecting allocations of products wherever and whenever necessary, says Hicks.

Much of that capability is going to be enabled by sensor and RFID tags that are now becoming inexpensive enough to attach to garments, says Hicks. Manufacturers not only want to know what’s in stock at any given moment they also want insights into how different types of customers are navigating a retail environment. Armed with that information they may choose to either directly or indirectly enable the retailer to make special offers available. Hicks says that despite all the hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT), there is rising awareness of what can be accomplished using sensors and analytics.