Resilient supply chains for local textile and clothing production in small series

Resilient supply chains for local textile and clothing production in small series

In the textile/clothing industry, there is growing motivation to strengthen local production capacity, like in Sjuhärad. However, after years of offshoring, there is limited knowledge about how such labor-intensive industries can be rebuilt or strengthened in high-cost contexts. In such contexts, small-series manufacturing is gaining attention as an enabler of supply chain resilience and competitiveness. A holistic perspective is required to understand how such business models and network configurations can contribute to increased resilience of supply chains. The project goal is to identify and prioritize factors enabling/challenging resilience of local textile/clothing manufacturing in such a high-cost region and how these factors (e.g., skills, processes, technology, and network structures) can enable strengthening/rebuilding the textile industry in the Sjuhärad area.

Expected results and effects

The main contributions of the project are addressing several limitations in the research, including explicitly addressing customization and resilience together, and capturing the relationship between localization and customization for resilience-with associated cost/risk trade-offs and challenges. These issues benefit from being addressed from the industry practitioner perspective holistically, regarding decision-making and supply chain design, to understand the implications of local supply networks on resilience in high-cost contexts. These topics are of particular relevance to both existing and aspiring textile/clothing manufacturers in Sweden, and specifically within the Sjuhärad region.

Some expected contributions to Sjuhärad and the development of the region include providing support for existing and aspiring textile/clothing manufacturers through increasing knowledge levels regarding supply chain resilience enablers/challenges, and small-series production models. The various findings can lead to/support studies and pilot initiatives to develop or reconfigure supply chains and small-series production models within textile/clothing supply networks in the future. Additionally, by exploiting enablers of supply chain resilience and small-series production models, such as digital processes and advanced manufacturing technology, companies in the Sjuhärad region can be positioned among the leaders in digital manufacturing in the textile/clothing industry and can increase job creation.

Planned approach and implementation

The holistic approach required to address the project goal is gained through adoption of the supply network configuration view, which captures various interrelated decision areas. The project will run for one year and is based on four main activities. These include a Delphi study and interviews to evaluate and prioritize resilience enablers and challenges, and explore issues related to decision-making and implementation from the perspectives of practitioners. Additionally, a workshop will be organized to understand the requirements for development of local value chains in the region for supply chain resilience. Finally, feasibility analysis will be carried out with both textile/clothing manufacturers and brands to assess the potential for small-series manufacturing opportunities for resilience in such high-cost contexts.