Ketty Pillet, Vice President of Marketing and Communication of Gerber Technology LLC
Software and automation solutions can help apparel and industrial customers improve their manufacturing and design processes and more effectively manage and connect the supply chain from product development and production to the end customer.
Gerber Technology LLC, Tolland, CT/USA, provides automated cutting solutions to companies worldwide in the apparel and accessories, personal protective equipment, home and leisure, transportation, packaging, and sign and graphics industries.
The global textile and apparel industry is very much affected by the effects of the corona pandemic. What are currently the biggest challenges for the industry?
Currently, one of the biggest challenges in the fashion industry is developing new revenue streams. With many people spending more time at home, the demand for new clothes has dramatically decreased. Instead, many fashion and apparel companies pivoted to producing personal protective equipment (PPE). There’s been a global shortage of PPE due to the high demand, so governments are counting on manufacturers to help make it more available.
With second shutdowns happening, the world remains very fluid and unpredictable. Fashion companies are being forced to adapt their business model towards a more direct to consumer model. Rather than produce, stock and sell, they sell online and then produce OnDemand.
The other big challenge fashion companies are facing is remote work. When the pandemic began, companies had to learn how to quickly digitalize their process to remote collaboration. For many, this meant adopting new technologies in order to remain productive while working remotely.
Can Gerber's software and automation solutions help the industry to better respond to the current challenges?
Since March, the Gerber PPE Task Force has successfully helped thousands of companies pivot to PPE production. We put together a variety of resources, such as production-ready patterns, tech packs, cut files, to provide our customers with the necessary tools they need to quickly and efficiently transition to PPE.
To support the digitalization of the supply chain and the new direct to consumer model, Gerber is helping companies digitally transform their business through consulting, support, and training. Their end-to-end solution connects the supply chain from design to production, allowing companies to produce OnDemand while accelerating time to market, reducing costs and allowing them to remain agile.
What innovations from Gerber can you currently present to us?
Over the last few months, we’ve been heavily investing in new products and services including: Gerber Health Services, Transformation Consulting, the Atria Digital Cutter, and our software offerings. In the last three years, we’ve spent nearly $60 million in R&D to ensure that we are offering the solutions and innovations our customers need to be successful. We have developed a direct to consumer microfactory which can develop customized products in less than one hour.
We offer an end-to-end solution featuring the latest hardware and software solutions to connect the supply from design through production. Our solution empowers our customer to remain agile, ensuring they can easily adapt to changes within the market.
What do you think will be the most important topics in our industry after the corona crisis? How might the biggest changes look?
The Covid-19 crisis has shown us that we need to remain agile and quickly adapt to changing market conditions. For many companies, this means digitally transforming their supply chain. Many have realized that their current processes are not as efficient as they should be which is where technology can come in and help. We’re going to see a lot of people start to slowly automate and integrate their supply chains so they can easily share data from design to development to production, which will allow them to get their products to market faster and at a higher quality.
Additionally, Covid-19 is also causing two major trends to develop: direct to consumer and customization. Both of which will likely continue long after the pandemic as manufacturers realize the benefits of producing OnDemand.
Can companies do something now and prepare themselves to be well-positioned when the global economy picks up again?
Right now, companies can look to digitalize their whole supply chain and invest in the latest technology, which will allow them to navigate the rest of the pandemic. By digitally transforming they’ll get the agility and speed they need to be first in all situations and remain successful in the post-Covid era. In light of current developments, the topic of digitalization will become even more important in the future. To what extent could it represent a differentiating factor?
Digitalization will be critical for success in the very near future. It’s crucial for companies to be customer centric. The need to proactively offer the options their customers want and then deliver them very quickly.
The development of technology such AI,3D, IoT allows companies to manage data and leverage the latest technology to connect their supply chains. Companies will continue to invest in these technologies in order to accelerate their time to market, reduce material waste and improve the overall quality of their final, all of which will be deciding factors on where consumers shop.