A Fabric Resource Management System (FRMS) for Fashion Product Development

A Fabric Resource Management System (FRMS) for Fashion Product Development

K.L. Choy (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), K.M. To (Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), A. Ning (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong), C.K.H. Lee (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and W.K. Leung (Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch068
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Introduction

The fashion industry is now facing a transformation due to the emergence of the fast fashion trend (Choy et al., 2009; Lee et al., 2013). Under the pressure brought by fast fashion, product life cycle and the speed to market of new products are getting shorter. In order to survive in the dynamic market, the effectiveness and efficiency of New Product Development (NPD) is of greater importance in today’s fashion industry. According to Frings (2008), NPD in the fashion industry covers a wide range of activities including market research, trend analysis, merchandising, design and product prototyping. Critical NPD decisions have to consider not only the desired product functionality, but also supply chain issues including sourcing vendors, selection of materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, as well as the determination of the products design technology (Petersen et al., 2005).Therefore, in order to expedite the NPD process, it is necessary to improve internal processes in a fashion enterprise as well as the connections with external parties across the textile-apparel supply chain.

In view of the fact that fabric selection is a crucial operation that affects the success of designing a new fashion product (Choy et al., 2009), increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of fabric management operation is one of the ways to improve internal processes in a fashion enterprise. In a fashion enterprise, the selection of fabrics is heavily relying on the knowledge and experience of individuals such as creative designers, product development managers and merchandisers (Lau et al., 2006), causing bias easily. In order to guarantee the decision quality in the fabric selection process, a management system is necessary to guide the decision makers when selecting appropriate fabrics for new products. In addition, choosing appropriate fabric suppliers is an important issue in NPD. Fabrics, on average, make up 70 percent of the material cost of a garment (Moon & Ngai, 2010). Therefore, fabric sourcing can affect the profitability of a fashion business. As customers are now looking for products which are of high quality with low cost, fabric modifications are common in many cases so as to fulfill customer expectation. Unfortunately, the fabric evaluation and modification process may occur several times until the prototype is fully satisfactory in terms of cost, performance, and consumers’ reaction (Kadolph, 2007). In order to respond to the market changes, fashion enterprises are expected to build a closer connection with potential parties in the supply chain such as the fabric suppliers.

In view of the above highlighted market needs, the objective of this chapter is to present a Fabric Resource Management System (FRMS) for fashion product development. Such system has embedded the Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) technology to support the knowledge manipulation involved in the selection of fabric swatches and suppliers during the fashion product development process.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Fabric Sourcing: A process of finding fabrics that possess the desired properties.

New Product Development: A complete process starting from new product idea generation to an actual launch of a product to market.

Case-Based Reasoning: A knowledge-based artificial intelligence technique which solves problems based on knowledge and experience gained from solving similar past problems.

Fast Fashion: A trend in which clothing collections are designed and manufactured quickly and economically to allow consumers to take advantage of the most up-to-date clothing styles at a lower price.

Knowledge Management: A range of practices to identify, create, share and retain information, facts, skills and experience within an organization.

Resource Management: The allocation and deployment of resources within an organization in an effective way.

Supplier Selection: A process of identifying suitable suppliers from a pool of suppliers after evaluation.

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