Generating awareness of supply chains and providing customers with information on the supply chain journey of a garment is essential to develop awareness of sustainability and the social impact of textile production. Transparency of supply chains is vital to helping consumers become more aware of supply issues and allowing them to support brands and manufacturers that are actively seeking sustainability. Due to the amount of data and information available in supply chains, this has been a difficult message to communicate to consumers in the past. However, technology developments such as QR codes now enable consumers to trace a garment’s history and provenance throughout the supply chain, from concept design to being ready to purchase. Consumers can look at the whole value of the garment, beyond just price. Such supply chain software also allows manufacturers to champion local materials and sustainable practices in their brands quickly to consumers, increasing customer engagement and brand awareness.

Consumers want and need effective supply chain information

Increasingly environmentally engaged consumers want more information on the supply chains of their garments. Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally and socially aware and they want to be able to see the true impact and footprint of the item they’re buying. Recent research by Stenden University found that consumers would favour brands that make their supply chain clear, with up to 90% willing to pay more for sustainable items. However, customers still find sustainable clothing hard to source, which is why QR code supply chain systems can have such an impact. Providing consumers with relevant information on supply chains for each garment will drive the true habit change that is needed by consumers to achieve real sustainable textile production. Consumers will quickly be able to see the impact of the garment they’re buying, which is extremely impactful.

A QR barcode on a garment enables the customer to see the true value of an item’s supply chain immediately, allowing them to look past simply the price of the item. Scanning the code allows consumers to be truly informed about the supply chain of the item, including viewing the raw materials used, knowing where each process takes place, how far the garment has travelled, CO2 impact and finding out whether the manufacturer adheres to socially responsible manufacturing. Giving this information to customers easily will allow them to really make responsible choices, encouraging real change.

Brands can create a real marketing edge through supply chain tools

Such supply chain information systems are also great for manufacturers and brands, giving them a real marketing edge. Allowing customers to immediately see the provenance of an item means that the brand can champion key parts of their supply chain, making the brand immediately stand out. As an example, many consumers are not aware that British textile production continues to perform well, despite the move to large scale off shore supply. A simple scan of a QR code will allow British textile brands to highlight their ‘Made in Britain’ status, demonstrating for example, that the wool is from Scotland, it’s then spun in Yorkshire and finally knitted in Leicester.  A supply chain tool enables brands and manufacturers to clearly demonstrate and promote their local and sustainable credentials to consumers quickly and clearly, celebrating crucial parts of the supply chain. It also allows consumers to engage with a brand, reviewing products and making recommendations to other consumers, constantly developing brand connection and engagement.

Supply chain systems can generate real change in textile production

Supply chain systems through QR codes have the potential to create true habit change in consumers. Giving consumers a more thorough understanding of the impact of textile manufacture and the life cycle of a garment is the key to generating effective change. With a supply chain system, at the scan of a code, customers are able to view the supply chain for each garment, creating awareness and providing information on the whole chain quickly, including the social and environmental impact. Although vital for informing consumers, brands can also utilise such a tool to promote their sustainability and local credentials, creating real marketing edge and genuine engagement with consumers.

Bomler are manufacturers of a software system that gives full transparency in the supply chain, through either business to business or business to consumer uses. Consumers can trace their garment throughout the whole supply chain throughout the Consumer Application, providing effective information quickly on the entire supply chain of a garment. Textile Consult are the UK exclusive partner of Bomler, working to develop sustainable textile solutions.