Fashion Forward: BPO’s Role in the Apparel Industry

Outsourcing inventory monitoring and fashion design to BPO providers streamlines operations, tapping into specialized skills and advanced technology for quality-driven processes. Discover how BPO expands fashion businesses and addresses outsourcing benefits and challenges.
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Why would you spend time and effort monitoring inventory when you could delegate the task to a third party for smoother management? Why develop styles in-house when a service provider can offer more focused fashion design?

Business process outsourcing (BPO) providers employ professionals with specialized skills and proficiency in advanced technology. These capabilities boost daily processes without overspending or compromising product quality.

Keep reading if you want to learn more about the critical role of BPO in expanding your fashion and apparel business. This article also discusses the benefits and potential challenges of outsourcing.

How BPO Fits in the Fashion and Apparel Industry

How BPO Fits in the Fashion and Apparel Industry

Entrusting non-core functions to a third-party unit defines what BPO is. This business strategy allows you to prioritize enhancing the quality of your fashion and apparel products. 

You can outsource the following tasks based on your current needs and budget:

  • Garment manufacturing
  • Raw material sourcing and procurement
  • 3D visualization and computer-aided design (CAD) 
  • Sampling, prototyping, and pattern grading
  • Quality control and evaluation
  • Order fulfillment and inventory management
  • Warehousing and distribution
  • E-commerce support 
  • Social media and website management
  • Sales and digital marketing
  • Customer service
  • Technical assistance
  • Photography, videography, and content creation
  • Retail store management
  • Accounting and financial services
  • Graphic design and branding
  • Data entry and administrative support
  • Market research and trend forecasting

Key Advantages of Fashion and Apparel BPO

Key Advantages of Fashion and Apparel BPO

BPO can significantly benefit various sectors, including the fashion and apparel industries. Choosing the right BPO organization can bring the following advantages while strengthening your competitive edge.

Save Operating Expenses

According to 57% of executives polled by Deloitte in its 2022 report, cutting operating costs remains the primary driver for outsourcing. These business leaders acknowledge that BPO allows easy access to skills whenever needed.

Imagine that your in-house photographer and videographer unexpectedly called in sick only five hours before your fashion show. A service vendor can provide replacements specializing in photography and videography. This lets you address such issues on time, without needing to train the worker comprehensively or pay a large sum. 

Based on that scenario, you no longer have to worry about recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires. Outsourcing allows you to quickly hire third-party workers during off or peak seasons. You can pay them an hourly or monthly fee based on agreements. In addition, expect more cost savings through these means:

  • Benefit from economies of scale. Service providers can quickly and effectively manage operations for multiple clients. They charge a fixed fee for large volumes of work, promoting cost efficiency.
  • Remove technology and infrastructure costs. By outsourcing production, you avoid investing in expensive equipment, machinery, and real estate. Third-party vendors typically own these resources, so you do not need to bear such expenses.
  • Enhance supply chain management. This function of BPO helps decrease holding costs. Your business can avoid overstocking and unnecessary write-offs.
  • Expedite time to market (TTM). Service providers leverage updated equipment and a well-trained workforce to accelerate garment manufacturing. These factors result in enhanced responsiveness to trends and increased sales.
  • Enable cost control and flexibility. Vendors offer flexible pricing models for their support services. They allow you to select from fixed hourly, monthly, and after-service fees. These options let you align your BPO investment with your specific requirements. 

Prioritize Core Competencies

Offloading your non-core tasks to BPO companies lets you focus on boosting your core competencies. These vendors employ professionals skilled in their respective fields. They also familiarize themselves with industry trends, demands, policies, and technologies. Such insights and capabilities help them accomplish tasks faster and with more accuracy.

Moreover, third-party teams optimize advanced solutions such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) to expedite their work. Third-party teams also use a cloud-based, omnichannel platform to respond seamlessly to your customers’ concerns.

This streamlined support enables you to prioritize product quality. For example, if your expertise falls in fashion design, you can outsource your manufacturing processes to concentrate on designing. Focusing on your aptitudes helps you stay competitive in the fashion industry.

Expand Global Reach

BPO is crucial to expanding your fashion and apparel business worldwide. Going global enables your brand to diversify its customer base and reduce reliance on a single market. This makes your business less vulnerable to fluctuations in local economies. 

The expansion also allows you to reach regions with strong consumer demand for fashion products. This opportunity increases your sales and overall profitability. Outsourcing helps you achieve such positive outcomes.

Service providers have established multiple branches in various countries. Fact.MR’s data shows North America and Europe hold the largest shares of the global outsourcing market. Their presence in Europe alone assures that you will reach the right consumers; the city of fashion, Paris, France, is located here, after all. 

Hence, BPO companies know every region’s cultural nuances, regulatory requirements, and industry-specific needs. You can utilize this advantage to personalize engagement with your target audience. 

Here are other ways outsourcing supports you in growing your business footprint:

  • Perform market research in new regions
  • Track and analyze consumer trends, preferences, and competitor movements
  • Handle international supply chains, logistics, and shipments
  • Deliver multilingual customer service and digital marketing initiatives
  • Manage global distribution and warehousing
  • Support compliance and risk mitigation

Ensure High-quality Product

Outsourcing production guarantees that final products, such as brand-new clothes and sneakers, have superior quality. Third-party providers implement thorough testing and evaluation at different manufacturing stages, from sourcing raw materials to finishing products. 

This approach allows vendors to keep the quality consistent at each step. BPO companies also assist you in ensuring high-quality fashion and apparel offerings through these activities:

  • Monitor compliance with quality guidelines and product safety standards
  • Audit and maintain manufacturing facilities and equipment
  • Process and apply for industry certifications
  • Manage relationships with reliable suppliers
  • Conduct root cause analysis to resolve potential issues

Challenges to Consider Before Outsourcing

Challenges to Consider Before Outsourcing

While outsourcing fashion and apparel services brings numerous advantages, several BPO challenges remain. You must thoroughly understand and properly address them to maximize the benefits discussed above. 

Take note of these issues before finding the right provider:

  • Ensuring consistent product quality is impossible when strategies are misaligned.
  • Compromised intellectual property (IP) results from unsafe data sharing online.
  • Linguistic and cultural barriers hinder smooth communication and collaboration.
  • Time zone differences hamper real-time interactions and decision-making processes.
  • Geopolitical factors, customs issues, and delayed shipments disrupt TTM.
  • Overreliance on outsourcing leads to operational problems and downtime.
  • Cybersecurity risks threaten sensitive information exchange online.
  • Sudden market shifts and changing fashion trends impact well-planned strategies.

The Bottom Line

Working with BPO providers gives you a competitive advantage in the fast-paced fashion and apparel industry. Service providers allow you to access skilled workers and advanced technologies for your non-core needs. These resources also allow you to prioritize improving your critical products and initiatives.

You can cut your operating costs while maintaining high-quality products by leveraging third-party expertise. Hiring BPO vendors is also your best option to broaden your global reach since providers have stations worldwide to deliver support services. But before reaping such benefits, you must be wary of possible issues involving your BPO investment. 

Let’s connect to draft a well-structured BPO plan for your fashion and apparel business. Unity Communications employs scalable professionals and modern solutions to expedite your day-to-day processes.

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Joyce Ann Danieles is an SEO content writer from Manila, Philippines. She’s comfortable writing outsourcing-focused articles, helping you clarify the confusing concepts surrounding the BPO industry. With her experience in news writing and copywriting, she’s always ready to feed your brain with random facts and creative insights.   Outside work, Joyce explores the world of literature. She tries to write fiction she hopes to share with everyone someday.
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Joyce Ann Danieles

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