Fast is the NEW NORMAL - When Speed to Market Strategies Allow You to Stay Ahead of Competition

Why Speed is important? 

With increase in competition and demand for fashionable products, Speed-To-Market has become a top management concern. Our studies show direct correlation between speed and lost sales. Lost sales could come from insufficient initial buy quantity for the 1st order and inefficient replenishment lead time for repeat orders.  Different levers need to be considered to address the speed challenge. This document aims to cover practical tips for supply chain practitioners who aim to make speed a competitive advantage.


CPOs want to focus on Speed to Market according to State of Sourcing 2017 survey – Just style

Weave apparel case studies: 2 apparel companies facing different lost sales challenges

5 major pillars should be considered when considering a Speed Model

Speed-To-Market is a strategy led from the top-down. Tailoring speed levers by product life cycle and sales velocity helps organizations prioritize their efforts. From defining the number of collections per year to developing a “mind-to-market”  time and action calendar, each lever should support the distinct needs of your product segments e.g. rolling, seasonal or/and fashion items

The time from design to sample approval contributes one of the largest portions of lead time. In the apparel industry this can be as long as 100-180 days or as short as 10-20 days. Organizations should break down silos to increase cross-functional collaboration, reduce handoffs, and increase product development speed

Planning for 1st buy and reorder requires different techniques. 1st buy relies on advanced forecast planning to prevent lost sales. Reorder planning should be supported by raw material and capacity booking to ensure that you can quickly replenish successful styles

Capacity management impacts production lead time. Alignment on capacity based on standard production minutes and efficiency ratios helps align retailers and manufacturers on securing production slots. Best in class companies operate Sales & Operation planning meetings to effectively link supply and demand

There are many techniques available for retailers to shorten transportation lead times and cut warehousing cost (e.g. cross-docking through direct-to-store). Decisions of Air vs Sea shipment should be carefully evaluated in relation to projected margin gains



Next time, we will take a closer look into one of Weave’s client company on how they identified opportunities to increase speed, and establish suitable levers to improve their Speed-to-Market capability.