Meyer & Meyer CEO Jan Weber on the future of the sector
The fashion world is always ahead of the times, producing a constant flow of new ideas, new collections and new trends. What major developments and challenges can we expect over the coming years? And how will they affect a supply chain service provider like Meyer & Meyer? Jan Weber, CEO of Meyer & Meyer, shares his thoughts on the future of fashion.
1) You became CEO of Meyer & Meyer in early 2016. You’re also responsible for sales, key account management and business development. What major developments can your customers in the fashion industry expect in the next few years?
I see three main trends that will shape the fashion industry today and in the future. The first is digitalisation and the growing importance of online retail and omnichannel models. The second is increasing globalisation – in other words, the increasing significance of international goods flows. And the third trend relates to the growth of what is known as “fast fashion”. Consumer demand for products that are individually tailored to their needs is driving up the volume and variety of products available on the market. This has led to ever-shorter collection cycles – nowadays there are not two or three, but 12 or more collections launched each year. These three trends represent a huge challenge for the fashion industry: companies need to find intelligent, systematic ways to guide products into the appropriate distribution channels in line with demand. The complex processes involved in this highlight the important role of supply chain service providers like Meyer & Meyer within the fashion industry. Our job is to make sure our customers’ products get to the right place, at the right time. It’s vital not to accumulate stock in multiple locations, so ideally all distribution channels should be served from a single warehouse stock. This increases flexibility and allows rapid responses to fluctuations in demand, while still minimising capital commitments. A key factor in achieving this is ensuring transparency along the entire value chain. As a logistics partner that supports fashion companies from sheep to shop, one of our core competencies is providing precisely the kind of systems that make intelligent distribution possible.
2) The modern shopping experience is all about the internet, TV and catalogues – it’s been a long time since shopping was limited to physical stores. So what does this mean for logistics?
The sheer increase in distribution channels does not pose the most significant logistics challenge – instead, it’s how to precisely manage goods across these channels and intelligently connect them. These days, end customers have many different touchpoints with products. There’s a virtually limitless supply of information out there about the quality, price and content of retail items. The challenge lies in bringing this information and the relevant goods flows together. Return to store, ship from store, click and collect – the growing number of ways consumers can buy and return products means that logistics companies now have to do much more than simply move goods from one channel to customers and back again. As a partner to the fashion industry, we always focus on the needs of the end customer. With our IT expertise and decades of experience in B2B and B2C within the fashion industry, Meyer & Meyer is in an ideal position to help our customers make the shopping experience as simple, convenient and individual as possible for end customers.
3) Given all these developments, what does the perfect Meyer & Meyer customer look like?
We don’t really have an ideal customer. The challenges facing the fashion industry and the supply chain are so diverse that we have to come up with solutions that are equally as multifaceted and unique. Our aim is always to provide tailor-made solutions to our customers’ problems, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. If you look at the trend towards greater transparency and flexibility, Meyer & Meyer will generate the most value for its customers if we can display and manage multiple parts of the supply chain. Whether it’s integrated solutions from sheep to shop, business process outsourcing or taking over management of the entire value chain – these are the areas where a partner like Meyer & Meyer, with our huge range of services, can offer customers the greatest value.