On-Demand Manufacturing - Towards Sustainable Fashion

Design and production in the fashion industry are well known for its lengthy and intricate processes which in many businesses, from start to finish, can take up to over a year. In response to this, we’re seeing a number of start-ups adopting effective methods of automation and analytics to streamline the design and production process. 

One of these methods is on-demand manufacturing. Apart from start-ups, some of the mass-market players have also started following this trend that significantly reduces minimum order quantities (MOQ) and production time and better supports sustainable fashionIn fact, this shift towards eco-friendly methods of production is increasingly becoming one of the top trends in the industry.

So what exactly is On-Demand Manufacturing?

Manufacturing On Demand (MOD), also known as On-demand manufacturing is the process in which goods are produced in smaller quantities to removes the bottlenecks of MOQ and thus lower the stock to avoid the overproduction.

This process is significantly different from pre-existing concepts and methods of production and manufacturing. Traditional methods advocate the use of assembly lines in order to produce massive quantities of products that are sent to storage facilities and then shipped off. This usually results in a high volume of waste in which 30% garment is sold at a heavily discounted price, and another 30% never sold simply goes to the landfill.

On-Demand Manufacturing, on the contrary, promotes the use of scalable methods of manufacturing and importantly,  its flexible approach allows manufacturers to produce in a smaller amount so as to minimize excessive production.

Why On-Demand Manufacturing?

The fashion industry, as a whole, has come a long way - to the point where topics like On-Demand Manufacturing and sustainable fashion are not only talked about but also adopted. Here are some of the major benefits that are setting MOD apart as a sustainable production method to consider and engage with: 

  • The use of technologies such as 3D knitting machines significantly reduces waste production, making the process more eco-friendly.
  • The process ensures shorter lead times, as well as faster and more efficient market testing.
  • By ruling out the need for massive inventories, the process lowers credit-risk and also eliminates the need for significant markdowns.

In reality, there is still a gap between the On-Demand Manufacturing capabilities and the customer expectations, but here in 22 Factor, we are working in the direction to use various software-enabled manufacturing technologies targeting to remove the MOQ bottlenecks and long planning cycle. 22 Factor, the brand dedicated to sustainable fashion, is trying our best to continuously contribute to sustainable development through adopting new technology in manufacturing. Check out our On-Demand 3D Knitting Initiative for more information.