Manufacturing has been a black box for too long. With the overwhelming majority of apparel, footwear, and accessories production conducted overseas, retailers and brands have had to settle for extremely limited insight into how their products are being made – leading to compounded issues with speed, quality, and transparency.

With the help of technologies like digital printing, robotics, automation, and shopfloor control platforms, a new kind of fashion factory is emerging: always connected, agile, and capable of producing prototypes, samples, short runs, and potentially more.

These factories are the vanguard of Industry 4.0 (Smart Manufacturing in the USA) in that they provide live visibility into the manufacturing process that simply had not been possible before – allowing factory and customer alike to design to cost, respond to micro-fluctuations in the market, and achieve cost and time savings.

The factories of the future also promise to make customisation and even mass personalisation achievable.

The question on everyone’s mind as we move towards our coverage of Factories of the Future in June 2020 is whether all of this is practical on an industrial level, or whether it will remain on a small scale. Keep visiting The Interline throughout June 2020 to find out whether the factories of tomorrow can deliver on that vision.