Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’! – Audrey Hepburn
The current challenge experienced in a wide range of industries, and especially the apparel industry, is supply chain disruptions. As the global economy recovers from COVID-19, costs like shipping and raw materials have gone up, labor has gone up, employee retention has gone down, and everyone is feeling the squeeze.
The Microwave Society- Immediate Gratification
We have grown accustomed to wanting (and almost always getting) everything right here, right now. Technology has advanced in such a way that allows us to have immediate access to almost anything we want. It’s all at the click of a button.
However, the recent global pandemic has affected the supply chain, leaving many hurdles and challenges to overcome in the apparel industry. It’s time to get creative and practice flexibility.
According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, “50% of companies have started a major transformation to achieve speed and flexibility.”
The old way of operations has been challenged, but innovative technology and reworking processes are creating a new way. The apparel industry seeks to tighten up loose ends where complacency has been living, such as simplifying design and product development, finding a balance of sourcing countries, upgrading digitization, and creating better supplier relationship strategies.
The apparel industry’s hand has been forced, and it’s decidedly stepping up to the plate.
How Do I Provide Uniforms When The Sizes or Colors I Need Are Out of Stock?
The biggest challenge the apparel industry has right now is that there are products available, but maybe not in the sizes or colors that you need to accommodate your staff. It’s time to think outside the box, and have some fun with it!
Read on for a few ideas to help you get through this unprecedented time – at least for our generation.
Mix and match with black.
Black is a unifier. It goes with everything and generally with itself. Someone may have a V-neck on, another is wearing a tank top, and someone else is sporting a baseball sleeve, but they can all look super cohesive and united AS LONG AS THE DECO ALL MATCHES. If the prints are slightly off, it can really show how different the garments are. The same holds true for white.
Bring in color for limited time offers.
If Black is your go-to color, and your staff is kind of done with the monochromatic look, then spruce it up with a color that is available now. It may be a tertiary color for your brand, but it can still feel fresh and new, which is just what we all want right now. Keep the graphics clean and simple, and make sure the top matches the bottoms you already specify in your dress guidelines.
Allow a bit of freedom with personal choice t-shirts.
This is a great way to allow your staff personal freedom, and bring some personality to your establishment. Have your staff wear t-shirts that are blank without messages on them, and then provide a bib apron in an on-trend style that features your brand or design. Aprons are a fantastic way to create visual unity and they are one size fits all.
Commemorate the past with a flashback day, week, or month.
Clean out your closet of old uniform inventory and play into the nostalgia we all have right now for simpler times! It could be fun to see how the logo has evolved over the years, and in addition, give a sense of history to your new team members. Maybe offer a menu mainstay at 2007 prices to match the garments you found. Just make sure to set a final whistle for when those vintage garments are no longer allowed to be worn.
Plan further ahead.
Seriously. We all live in a microwave culture where we want something now and expect to get it in five minutes. Supply chains have taught us a bit of patience and with it a measure of anticipation. Go ahead and order those sweet ball caps or hoodies knowing that they will show up right in time for the holidays. Just like you planned.
The attitude to adopt right now is FLEXIBILITY! Life is an adventure. a specific product in a market with supply chain disruptions is not important in the long run right now. Spend your energy on people development and eventually your favorite cap will come back in stock.