The definition of “productivity” is “the effectiveness of productive effort, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input”.
Source: Tom Howard
Technical as that sounds, the implications for fashion are simple. As retailers grow, structures and systems change, but businesses must be as productive as possible to get the greatest return.
That was the theme of this week’s Drapers Fashion Forum, held today at London’s County Hall. We had a fantastic line-up of speakers to analyse the challenges in this area and how best to overcome them.
Improving efficiency across the board – from supply chain to store operations and organisational structures – can have a huge impact. In the supply chain, it can reduce time to market and quicken response to increasingly demanding consumers. Stores can become more agile, and act as hubs for online orders and returns to create a true omnichannel experience. New technologies such as artificial intelligence can support digital teams to provide a slick and seamless online experience.
Speakers at Drapers Fashion Forum also discussed how to become customer-centric and build brands that put the consumer at their heart. To use a well-known adage from former Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Rose, “Customers are no longer king – they are masters of the universe.” Retailers that adapt to this shift of power will stay ahead of the competition.
As well as the differences in consumer behaviour, speakers looked at the change in employee management and how to build teams to attract today’s talent. New ways of working and streamlining organisational structures can be a huge challenge for any business. But once the new plan is in place, it is equally important to build a culture that embraces that change and can adapt to working in an agile way that is much more suited to today’s market.
As retailers continue to adjust to the changing market and evolving consumer behaviour, increasing productivity can really have its commercial advantages and support retailers to future-proof their businesses to survive and thrive. A huge thank you to all of the speakers, attendees and the Drapers team that helped create a fantastic event to support the fashion industry to become fit for the future.