Packaging and logistics are the unsung heroes in all industries. However, fashion logistics is always the Cinderella in the exciting and ever-changing landscape of styles and trends. It is never visible or featured in photos and videos, but without it the industry could not exist and amass billions in profits.
From the Production Facility to the Mall: The Perils of Fashion Shipping
There journey between the designer’s drawings and the clothes and footwear customers find in boutique stores is very long and complex. Most fashion brands manufacture their products in Asia, where labor is very affordable. This is the start of the journey for the most delicate and sensitive products, which must look impeccable in every aspect under the customers’ critical eye.
The products are often packed in bulk in rigid pallet containers, with textile dunnage for protection. In turn, these containers are stacked inside large shipping containers made of metal and loaded on cargo ships.
These ships will unload their valuable cargo in major ports in Europe, Australia, North and South America and Africa. After unpacking the shipping containers, the returnable foldable containers get distributed to various central warehouses. Here, the clothes and footwear are repacked in smaller, easier to maneuver containers and transported by trailer according to needs:
- To distribution hubs for online orders
- To stores and showrooms.
This is a simplified description of the supply chain in the fashion industry. The fact is that, just like in other industries, fashion logistics encounters various difficulties and challenges, such as delays in customs, shortages or strikes of truck drivers and bad weather conditions. Yet, every client receives their order on time or finds the perfect outfit for work, leisure or special occasions in stores.
How Does Fashion Logistics Work So Well? Here Are the Answers!
As partners and trusted suppliers to the fashion supply chain, Logistic Packaging experts know how fashion brands manage to keep all their promises to clients in terms of delivery time and availability of products.
The entire supply chain depends on four elements, perfected and continually improved to ensure a seamless process:
Clothes and footwear are extremely sensitive to any kind of damage:
- Mechanical shocks causing tearing
- Dust and dirt
- Unpleasant odors.
Returnable plastic packaging for textiles has special features to prevent all these damages and maintain the products intact during their long and complex journey:
- Sturdy build which resists many types of shocks
- Smooth inner walls to prevent scratching and tearing
- Tight fitting lid to prevent dust and liquids from entering the container
- Delicate textile dunnage to help maximize the usable space without damaging the products by overstuffing.
Security during Transportation
Fashion logistics must also take into account the need to prevent theft and destruction of products in transit. To this end, shipping containers and returnable plastic containers are often provided with anti-tampering seals and RFID chips. These chips can monitor the shipment during the entire journey, from checkpoint to checkpoints.
Any signs of tampering will be noted and uploaded in the information carried by the RFID chips, allowing the owner of the cargo to take appropriate action.
In case of very valuable fashion products, the shipment may be accompanied by an on-board courier, who will travel with the shipment throughout the entire journey to its final destination.
International Shipping Documents
The global supply chain must move fast, but it still must comply with legal requirements to identify and describe the goods moved from one country to another. In order to avoid delays, the sender must always check that the shipment is accompanied by:
- Commercial invoice – this document discloses the type, quantity, price per unit and total value of the shipment. The commercial invoice is necessary to calculate custom duties and taxes
- ATA carnet – this so-called “passport of goods” allows companies to benefit from duty and tax reductions if the shipped products will return to the country of export within a year. This may be applicable to unsold goods which can be returned to the producer for discounted sales or other purposes
- Footwear declaration form – any kind of footwear entering the United States of America must be accompanied by this standard form, which specifies the material used to make the shoes, the country where they were manufactured and various details about the type and model of shoes.
Last Mile Logistics
Last mile logistics can make or break the success of fashion brands. Consumers are increasingly critical of the condition of packages in which their orders are delivered, as well as the general display of clothes in stores.
Best practices in fashion logistics recommend building strong and long-term partnership with packaging producers and delivery companies, which can help them keep their promise to end customers.
Logistic Packaging is always ready to assist fashion brands with standard and customized plastic packaging materials that offer optimal protection to their products in transit. Send us an email to start discussing with one of our packaging specialists!