How Big Will On-Demand Manufacturing Actually be For Apparel Sourcing?

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The apparel industry is inching closer to custom-made clothing with each technological advancement and increasingly taxing consumer demand. And though on-demand manufacturing won’t remedy all of the apparel industry’s speed to market ills, it stands to serve considerable purpose in automating the processes and products best suited to it.

The win with on-demand is two-fold: the customer gets exactly what they want, and the brand only has to make exactly what they want. That means little waste, no excess inventory and no accounts receivable risk.

“Companies are losing money because of inefficient supply chain processes and the consumer is changing its behavior,” said Marleen Vogelaar, founder and CEO of Ziel, an on-demand manufacturing company making private label activewear product. It’s retail as a service for smaller and midsize brands, as Vogelaar puts it.

XRC Labs, a consumer goods and retail accelerator focused on finding and helping fund the future movers in the space, invested in Ziel because it believes in the model. A model, XRC Labs founder and managing director Pano Anthos likens to Starbucks.

“We look at the Starbucks model for coffee and Starbucks does not command 100 percent of all coffee sales, right? But when you go into a Starbucks, you get whatever Starbucks coffee you want at a ridiculous margin,” Anthos said. “Who else has turned a commodity into a $5 liquid, literally? But it’s because you get what you want, it’s a language that you understand, and it’s on demand.”

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Nancy Geduldxrc