Smartex is at the forefront of transforming the textile industry through the integration of Artificial Intelligence, focusing specifically on achieving zero waste and traceability in Tier 2, the most impactful step of the textile supply chain. They are part of a larger movement involving dynamic technology companies, forward-thinking factories, pioneering brands, and influential policy-makers all actively addressing challenges within the supply chain.
Currently, we are all witnessing a transformative shift in the textile industry, with a growing focus on commercial focuses (greater speed, more reliable quality & data-led pricing) and sustainability goals. The unregulated era of low-cost dominance is evolving, and the key to this transformation lies in the emergence of the Modern Textile Factory (MTF). Recognizing the power of collaboration, Smartex has established the first focus group dedicated to “The Modern Textile Factory.” This global team of experts brings diverse perspectives to reshape the production landscape in response to the urgent need for change. This year, the focus group had four in-depth sessions convened by Smartex, delving into crucial topics that serve as the foundation for this comprehensive report. “The Modern Textile Factory” report is a synthesis of key findings that outline the transformative journey of the textile industry.
As regulations are being set in motion, from restricting excess stock destruction to supply chain product tracking, the MTF is positioned as a critical factor, since textile production accounts for 80% of the industry’s environmental impact. The urgency for the supply chain to adapt to new reporting standards and invest in sustainable technology is evident.
At the same time, commercial advantages are emerging for factories that embrace modernization, including the greater speed to market that aid brand revenue & deadstocks, improved quality control for greater factory control of their profits, and the ability to compete globally with data-led pricing strategies. The market is demanding competitive prices, increased speed, better quality, and rock-solid compliance at the same time, necessitating factories to accelerate their modernization efforts.
While challenges such as financing, macro trends susceptibility, and traditional mindsets exist, overcoming them is possible with collective support. Brands play a crucial role in providing financial assistance, technology companies must ensure a clear return on investment, and the industry must spotlight exemplary factories and their success stories. While sustainability is a powerful force, financial incentives are more developed and immediately compelling for factories and brands alike. By showcasing upcoming changes and illustrating the benefits for those adopting modernization, the Modern Textile Factory can emerge as the new standard, bringing about a win-win scenario for all stakeholders.
The report, authored by Max Easton, Global Innovation Director at Smartex, showcases a wealth of insights from this global team of experts. Easton, reflecting on the report, states, “After experiencing firsthand the benefits of collaboration during my time at Fashion for Good, an organization focused on sustainable innovation in textiles, I was excited to continue this at Smartex. The focus group has brought together a wide range of experts to delve into a vital topic: the modernization of the textile chain.”
The report addresses critical questions surrounding supply chain modernization, factory data collection, communication systems between brands and their suppliers, and the need to elevate exemplary factories without penalizing their razor-thin margins. Easton expresses gratitude to the ten MTF group members, emphasizing the privilege of discussing their insights, concerns, and hopes. The report organizes key takeaways into a clear narrative, balancing member experience and real-life examples. While acknowledging that the report doesn’t have all the answers, Easton believes it presents compelling ideas as economic and logical arguments for change in the textile supply chain.