Automation in apparel industry

Streamlining supply chain processes in the apparel industry

Apparel industry

The Operation

Apparel is a gargantuan sector of the global retail marketplace. Worth an estimated £1.37 trillion globally, it ranges from sportswear selections to formal fashion garb, ecommerce everyday casual, and many more besides.

The Invar Group has worked with several premium brands in these sectors including:

  • A world leading climbing gear brand turned sportswear fashion label
  • A multibillion dollar global exercise brand whose first warehouse was in the founders’ grandmother’s basement in Washington DC
  • A sportswear giant that sits in the top 20% of the Fortune 500, and places #1 in’s apparel brand rankings
  • Well known British supermarket chain offering a wide range of clothing, footwear, home goods and essentials
  • Irish fast fashion retailer that operates in 15 countries worldwide
  • British online retailer and catalogue company selling clothing, home and garden products, electricals and footwear

The Challenge

In recent years, apparel as a sector has faced more and more challenges to its logistics and warehousing operations. More and more of the overall sales activity is happening via ecommerce. Industry estimates range between 35%-46% of all apparel sales activity happening online.

In the post covid world, the expectations of online apparel sales processes couldn’t be higher. Customers want their goods next day, even if orders arrive as late as 10pm in some cases.

This is compounded in complexity by the vast range of size, colour, design, and detailing variations that every item of apparel comes with. Not to mention the need to seamlessly and efficiently transfer both flat and hanging items.

Atop these expectations come a host of returns. More and more goods are being returned to apparel sellers for any number of reasons, with very little charge directed at the consumer. These goods need to be processed quickly, restocked rapidly, and arranged accurately.

All this, and much more besides, leads to the following set of challenges ahead for the apparel brands that Invar has worked with:

  • High speed picking
  • Near complete error elimination
  • High detail storage and retrieval operations
  • Seamless courier integration
  • Adherence to strict quality control standards

The Solution

The Invar Group has worked closely with several different providers in this field, and has developed a variety of solutions to solve their problems. Among the most successful was the deployment of a fleet of AMRs which moved extremely rapidly throughout the warehousing facility, without consuming vast quantities of space.

Invar has implemented a garments on hangers (GOH) automated materials handling solutions to help increase efficiency, minimize product damage and maximise storage capacity.

Other solutions involved the deployment of our in-house developed software suite, IWS – Invar Warehousing Software. By integrating this into the ordering processes, customers could have their items processed and put into packing at a much faster rate.

The Benefits

When completed, these various operations allowed our apparel brand clients to move onto even greater things with more confidence, whilst offering the flexibility to factor in future projected growth in the system design.

Each unique solution increased operational efficiency by reducing storage and transport overheads and streamlining supply chain processes for a wide range of products.

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Contact us if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment to discuss your warehouse control systems.

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