Although great steps have been taken over recent years to help mitigate the amount of mislabeled products that are on the market, it is still a huge issue across the UK. The country’s multi-billion fashion industry sells millions upon millions of items of clothing every year, which can make it challenging to monitor the journey every product has made. This is particularly evident for fur products, with more retailers found to have broken the rules when it comes to labelling their items as faux fur, when in fact they’re using real fur. But as the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) cracks down on misleading advertising claims, it has become more prevalent than ever that companies need to have a strong depth of insight into their logistics processes and their suppliers.
Knowing the growing concerns around ethical products and environmental security, retailers should now be trying to make their supply chains more transparent than ever. Fail to do so, and they run the risk of unknowingly selling real-fur items to consumers who are actively trying to choose products that fight against this. This could not only have an incremental impact on their footfall, but will put them in the firing line of the CAP.
In order to combat this, retailers need to invest in more thorough processes. There needs to be a greater focus on establishing a strong relationship with suppliers, in order to make them more willing to give improved levels of visibility. Operating with multiple supplier databases is a breeding ground for data inaccuracy and a drain on admin resources due to the need for version control, cross-referencing and double-checking of data. Fashion brands are notorious for sourcing products and materials from a vast number of suppliers, so to ensure they have the right insights, retailers should be focused on communicating regularly and honestly with suppliers, automating their critical path where possible and simplifying the reporting and analysis processes. By managing the entire supply chain process from initial product concept through to cash, retailers can work collaboratively with their suppliers, not only helping save time and money, but also bringing products to market quickly whilst making the best possible efforts to safeguard themselves against irresponsible sourcing.
As the CAP clamps down on mislabeled products, retailers should see this as an opportunity to transform their business processes for the better. Now is the time for all businesses to get their house in order when it comes to responsible sourcing and supply chain visibility, because consumers are using this as a key area when it comes to the decision making process and those who can’t prove themselves will be the ones that fall behind.