They also alleviate many of the retailers’ reordering headaches and help them buy as close to the selling season as possible. For manufacturers today, quick response has become key to survival. (Kumar, 2006)
One such system to link retailers and manufacturers is called electronic data interchange (EDI). An EDI system employs interconnected computer terminals throughout the entire manufacturing and sales systems. At the retailer’s checkout counter, electronic point-of-sale scanners read the bar code attached to each item and record the product sold, its price, and even such details as its color and size. This up-to-the-minute report on a given store’s sales is then relayed to the manufacturer.
Quick response and EDI technologies have proven successful with basic goods, which are relatively simple to produce, require shorter lead times, and increasingly are being manufactured in highly automated factories in the UK. These systems are more difficult to implement for seasonal and fashion apparel, however, because such goods require more labor input and thus tend to be made in the Caribbean or Southeast Asia. (Kumar, 2006)
Technology also is playing a crucial role in apparel procurement (or reverse auctions) through the rising popularity of business-to-business (B2B) exchanges—online marketplaces that allow trading partners to conduct real-time business communications with each other.