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United colours: Levelling the playing field in global fast fashion

Lauren Zhao, Managing Director, UPS Hong Kong and Macau

Textiles and garments were one of the industries that sparked the industrial revolution in the 19th century with what was then breakthrough new machine technologies. Today, the industry is once again being transformed.

A 2019 McKinsey and Co. report, ‘Fashion on Demand’, notes that developments in digital technology, data analytics and nearshoring – moving production closer to consumers – are speeding up production cycles to meet fast-changing consumer demand, with fashion trends now driven more by social media than retailers.

Kornit Digital, with its Asia Pacific office in Hong Kong, is playing a key role in transforming the global textile and garment business with its cutting-edge technology for digital printing systems, inks, and consumables. The company’s innovative solution means that fabrics no longer need to be treated before printing, allowing for mass customization of designs with no minimum order. This enables manufacturers to keep up with fast-changing fashion trends and consumer expectations for custom orders and quick turnaround times while at the same time levelling the playing field for fashion start-ups to compete with global brands.

The textile printing solutions developed by Kornit have disrupted what was once a very limited operation for fashion manufacturers and the company now serves more than 1,000 clients in over 100 countries.

The logic of logistics

Kornit discovered that while a great strategy and innovative solutions are of course paramount to success, equally important was having a strong logistics partner to move orders reliably across borders and deliver a customer experience that enhances brand reputation and loyalty.

“Our industry is led by the demands of the market,” said Sandra Chim, Kornit’s Operations Manager. “This combined with the increased reliance on e-commerce in Asia means both our customers and end consumers are pushing for faster turnarounds on spare parts and inks,”

As Kornit’s business across the Asia Pacific region grew, the team began to experience some of the complexities of navigating multiple customs and regulatory requirements as well as a range of tax systems across 12 markets in the region.

Its high inventory volume, the need to maintain fresh and stringent storage requirements for its ink products and frequent product deliveries, meant Kornit needed a logistics provider that was fast, flexible and able to easily navigate the international trading landscape.

Inkredibly high standards

Kornit’s success hinged on the provision of unique logistics requirements, with the storage of ink for its printers particularly critical as the ink has a shelf life and must be kept fresh. Kornit also promises delivery within 24 hours so as the company expanded across Asia and sales increased, the stringent storage and time-sensitivity requirements added an extra dimension to their supply chain management process.

To manage these logistics issues, Kornit Hong Kong turned to UPS for a custom contract logistics solution, which includes warehousing, inventory management and customs documentation. The solution meets Kornit’s requirements on temperature, packaging and inventory control and UPS has managed to ensure a 99.9% inventory accuracy level for Kornit’s 1,000 spare part varieties and more than 40 types of ink – each with its own expiration date.

An important component of this custom logistics offering is that UPS provides a dedicated team to manage Kornit’s complex customs documentation, which is especially valuable in the Asia Pacific given the region’s linguistic and regulatory diversity. Kornit’s partnership with UPS has given it access to a global network – a competitive advantage that helps the company maintain its focus on core competencies to grow the business.

“Kornit serves customers that range from contract printers and fashion brands to e-commerce retailers. All want the same thing – quick turnaround times for their products and reliable delivery,” says Chim.

Key to reliability is visibility, with shippers being able to track and receive proactive notifications on their delivery status. Then there’s e-billing, which reduces paperwork, streamlines the payments process and generally offers an enhanced customer experience.

Today, with a global network and custom solutions to support dynamic needs, UPS offers attention to logistical detail that builds customer confidence. It’s a partnership in the truest sense and one that allows Kornit to focus on growing its business in the Asia Pacific and to continue to develop innovative new products.

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