In such a fast-moving industry as fashion, with its endless moving parts around the globe, companies that manage supply chains must be aware of what’s happening every step of the way. So, it might seem paradoxical that the more complex the ecosystem being monitored, the simpler and more user-friendly the software platforms need to be.
“Complexity is the enemy of efficiency,” said Tobias Grabler, COO of supply chain software solutions Topo Solutions in a fireside chat with Sourcing Journal. “It drives up costs, increases errors and slows things down.”
This is especially true of software platforms, where each circumstance or use case must be planned and addressed during the buildout, or added in later as needed. Unfortunately, many platforms only work to pre-defined outcomes, and customers don’t always have access to underlying code to customize them—or the necessary skills to make changes even if they did.
Topo Solutions felt that pain, and sought out to create a simplified solution with their low-code/no-code building app.
“A lot of people at the company, myself included, came from retailing and supply chain industries, and had either used or implemented supply chain solutions that had adaptability limitations,” Grabler said. “We noticed how difficult, time-consuming and expensive it can be to later adapt systems to the changing environment. That’s why we wanted to make a change at Topo and develop technology for more agility and flexibility in supply chain.”
Agility is absolutely necessary, since no matter how fast a company tries to keep up, things always seem to change at a faster pace. Not only is the business environment constantly evolving, but product groups and laws are changing too.
“You always need to be collecting more and different kinds or data for your supply chain network,” added Grabler, noting the recent example in New York and the proposed Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, or the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Law coming into force in 2023 that will be further pushed on an EU level. “All these changes are creating quite a headache for organizations, and they really need to adapt quickly to comply with the laws and regulations in the future,” he said.
The first step is to identify the information you need from your supply chain network, then you can go into Topo’s low-code app building environment to build your supply chain tools with an easy drag-and-drop tool and start collecting and analyzing data.
He likened the platform to the commonly used platform Shopify, where you can build your own web shop with a drag-and-drop platform. “Topo works like that,” he said. “But for supply chain processes and supply chain tools.”
As a fluid platform, once it is built, companies can test it internally and with supply chain partners, collect and incorporate feedback, and then instantly deploy it without waiting for any software updates. Finally, he added, you can enhance that tool, be it with advanced analytics, automated workflows or integrations with other IT systems.
“With Topo, you can build and cover any kind of supply chain processes such as sourcing, product development, order follow ups, production monitoring, quality management and sustainability and compliance in a very holistic way,” he said.
Click the image above to watch the Fireside Chat.