Dr Andreas Seidl, CEO of the Human Solutions Group, on the present state of digitalisation and its future
In ten years’ time, will it be possible at all to implement an analogue textiles value chain?
Fashion is a fast-moving business and digitalisation provides the tools to supply fashion products at the right time, and in the right place. The opportunities presented by digitalisation are obvious and we can see that many companies have already begun to grapple with the subject, or are already actually implementing one or another digital strategy. The brands and concepts that succeed will be those that integrate the consumer into the development process at an early stage, because the crucial factor is what the customer wants. Digitalising the processes presents a huge opportunity, because it’s the only approach to thinking about fashion in a new light. As to whether there will still be space for analogue models remains up for debate. Is there anyone today who’d want to abandon the car and go back to the horse-drawn carriage?
The obvious advantages of digitalisation are incremental process improvements. But what opportunities does digitalisation provide for textile companies to improve their sustainability performance?
Digitalised product development, in particular, is a good example of sustainable effects. Companies can save on physical prototypes by simulating garments with 3D technology. This not only means a reduction in materials. Samples are often sent half-way around the world. Those who present their complete collection in a digital showroom can orientate themselves more closely to the actual needs of the customer when producing the garments. More realistic quantities are produced and this has a positive impact on the sustainability balance as well.
Let’s hazard a forecast: What is the 'next big thing' after the digitalisation of production, logistics and retail?
Digitalisation of the customer. Today, we can already send our individual avatar to go shopping on the internet. This trend will be further developed and perfected. Very soon, trying on garments digitally on our personal avatar will not be a problem. Moreover, this is an issue for both online and traditional retailers. This trend offers stationary retailers, in particular, opportunities to adapt to customers’ needs and turn the act of purchasing into a special experience.