Online-Talk mit Apolline Fuchs, International Partnership Manager bei TEKYN
31.03.22, 11 Uhr via Zoom
Wie funktioniert eine voll digitalisierte Textilproduktion? Wie können Modelabels von der Industrie 4.0 profitieren? Und welche Auswirkungen hat On-Demand-Herstellung von Mode auf die Umwelt, auf Labels und auf die Produktionsbetriebe?
Diese und weitere Fragen zum Thema Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit in der Modeproduktion diskutieren wir beim AFA Community Talk am 31. März 2022 mit Apolline Fuchs.
Online-Talk mit Apolline Fuchs, International Partnership Manager bei TEKYN
Sie ist International Partnership Manager bei TEKYN, einem französischen Fashion Tech Unternehmen, das die textile Wertschöpfungskette durch digital verbesserte Agilität, Effizienz, Zuverlässigkeit und Transparenz neugestalten will. Mithilfe seiner robotergestützten, digitalen Plattform ermöglicht TEKYN wöchentlich veränderbare Aufträge, die an die Nachfrage der Kundschaft angepasst werden.
Als Absolventin der Copenhagen Business School trat Apolline zunächst in die Beauty- und Luxusbranche bei Glossybox in Berlin und London ein, gefolgt von Pandora in Kopenhagen. Sie interessiert sich für internationale Kultur und die Textilindustrie interessiert und ist sich der wirtschaftlichen und ökologischen Verbesserungen bewusst, die dieser Branche zugutekommen könnten. Apolline ist entschlossen, auf ihre eigene Weise an der Gestaltung einer nachhaltigeren, verantwortungsbewussteren und profitableren Mode mitzuwirken.
Please introduce yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do, what did you study?
My name is Apolline Fuchs, I have an international background and I am passionate about the textile industry.
I started my university journey by doing a Bachelor in International Business at Grenoble Graduate Business School, with a minor in entrepreneurship in Maastricht. Thereafter, I entered the beauty and luxury industry at Glossybox in Berlin and London. After 2 years, I decided to go back to my studies at Copenhagen Business School, with a focus on Brand and Communications Management, which was followed by a professional experience at Pandora in Copenhagen. Passionate about international culture, the textile industry, and aware of the economic and environmental improvements that could benefit this industry, I wanted to participate in my own way in shaping it for a more sustainable, responsible and profitable fashion! Hence why I joined TEKYN’s adventure early 2021 as International Partnership Manager.
What exactly is TEKYN? How long has it existed? Why was it founded?
TEKYN is a French fashion tech company founded in 2017. We are now over 60 people. The team is made up of engineers, web developers, production operators and fashion industry experts. TEKYN’s mission is to design the textile industry 4.0 to have a massive social, economic and environmental impact.
The company has developed digital and robotic tools, a service offering and a center of expertise that optimize each unique supply chain to make it agile, efficient, reliable and transparent.
Its reason for being?
The fashion market is increasingly competitive and uncertain, consumers are volatile and request more transparency from brands. The textile industry, and more particularly production management, is very disconnected and manual. Consequences are that textile industry is time consuming and wasteful. Textile production management no longer meets the need for agility and transparency.
Today’s fashion industry is organized in a “push” mode: garments are produced before being sold. All TEKYN’s technologies and services are there to support the fashion industry players to switch to a more demand-driven flow.
How does it work and who is it for?
TEKYN is the technological hub that transforms the textile production experience, serving a new vision of fashion: sustainable, profitable, agile and transparent.
We offer 3 different options to produce efficiently:
- A digital and collaborative web platform & mobile app, allowing all textile actors to have a production follow-up shared between them, from procurement to expedition in real time.
- Cutting machines 4.0, automatically sending all production data in real time on the platform.
- A Center of expertise of on-demand production, to support brands in producing closer to the demand while avoiding any stock or discount.
By having the right data in real time, the entire production ecosystem will be able to reorder and split production in small batches according to the market demand. This will lead to the end of large blind orders, made once by the brands. TEKYN's added value lies in its dual response to the need for in-depth change in current production to meet new market requirements
What is your role at TEKYN?
As International Partnership Manager, my role is to support all actors of the textile industry to produce in a more efficient way to gain economical, social and environmental benefits out of it and thus making a positive impact.
What does the name TEKYN stand for? What does it mean?
To be honest TEKYN was the only name left when the co-founders had to choose one. To be more serious, TEKYN also stands for the fact that we are a TECH & INNOVATIVE company, we offer both in all our offers.
What are the main issues of the industry today and how can we start changing it?
The market is constantly challenged by the volatility of the consumers, their increasing request for more transparency, new regulations, and let’s not even start with the market uncertainties (weather, covid, war etc.). The textile industry nowadays, by being disconnected and manual, is not at all relevant to navigate these challenges. To have a more concrete idea: “Teams waste 54.5% of their time searching for documents and project information.” (*Finkel. D. Inc. March 2018).
Why do you think digitalization is a key factor for success?
Digitizing the production has become crucial to succeed and to anticipate today’s challenges. As stated in the McKinsey Apparel CPO Survey 2021, “Revamping fashion sourcing: Speed and flexibility to the fore”: “It has become vital to forge strategic links with trusted suppliers, especially those that invest in digitization, and are fast and flexible regarding production cycles and batch sizes. Long-term, committed relationships with key suppliers are increasingly favored. Digitization has emerged as a vital element of success. The industry has made clear progress here: digitizing interfaces, introducing advanced analytics, improving operational and design processes, and aiding transparency.”
In which way can your technologies help actors of the supply chain gain economic, social and environmental benefits?
We have developed 2 main technologies, based on hardware and software - A digital and collaborative platform that will link all the players. The platform allows actors of the supply chain to accelerate the transmission and reliability of information. The objective is to increase reactivity and agility in relation to market sales. A mobile application is deployed in the workshops for them to digitally declare all their production stages and thus provide brands with a transparent and real time follow-up. The platform helps everyone in the production process to focus on the high valued tasks. Coupled with this digitalization, we have developed a robotic part with cutting lines connected in 4.0 to the platform. This equipment allows workshops to transmit their production data immediately and reliably. Digitalization and 4.0 have the same goals: helping textile production players to better manage their stocks and produce in a more flexible way in relation to market demand. The ultimate goal is to produce less but better. These 2 technologies are the core of our business and can lead to different service offerings such as on-demand production.
How many pieces of clothing is TEKYN able to process in a day?
We have 3 4.0 cutting centers (in France, Bulgaria & Romania) that are a means to allow on-demand production.
How many labels and how many workshops are you working with at the moment?
We are working with more than 15 fashions brands, whether retailers such as La Redoute, Promod, Decathlon… or DNVBs / SMBs such as 1083 or Adresse. We are also in discussion with over 1200 brands and workshops throughout the EU.
As you mentioned TEKYN partners with big players in the fashion industry like Petit Bateau, IKKS, La Redoute, PROMOD. How does such a partnership look like?
We support them in their production process. Either with our collaborative platform, to digitalize their entire supply chain with all their partners and follow their entire production in real time. This helps them answer the CSR needs and gain economic benefit out of it by focusing on the high value-added tasks. Or with our turkey on-demand service, to avoid overproduction, discount and help them answer the demand closer.
And does TEKYN still also serve for small or upcoming labels?
Yes of course! TEKYN can simplify the DNVBs’ life in terms of production monitoring by structuring their supply chain process thanks to the use of a single high-performance collaborative tool specialized in textile production, without IT resources or heavy investment! Secondly, we allow brands to ensure on-demand production to support their growth while avoiding overproduction or discount.
What are the differences and similarities in the TEKYN production cycles of a big player and a small business?
Whether big player or small business their main objective is to increase their exit margin while trying to be sustainable. To do so, they have different challenges to face. On the one hand, retailers’ main goal is to avoid overstock and discount. On the other hand, DNVBs main objective is to gain additional sales while having enough cashflow.
Can you please describe step by step what a label has to do when it wants to produce let´s say a t-shirt with TEKYN, this week 10 pieces, next week 15, the week after 50. What happens before and after the order has been placed?
If a brand wants to produce on-demand with us. Here are the steps:
- Building program (gathering all the styles on the same fabrics)
- Booking capacities on a weekly basis no matter the size, the color or style and each week repeat orders in the right SKU.
This methodology enables to get rid of quantities minima and stick to market demand.
How long does it take from the order of a label to the end product? And how long does the customer have to wait until he/she receives his/her item?
If the workshop is in France this can be as fast as 10 days, for EU in can go up to 3 weeks approximately.
Are customers who are used to one day or even several hours delivery ready to wait weeks for a piece of clothing? Will they get used to this kind of slow fashion? Do they have to be taught?
Pre-order and On-demand have the same goal: produce the right quantities, however it is very important to note that both are 2 very different approaches! Pre-order is the first step for on-demand. At TEKYN we do not believe that pre-order scale is possible as customers are used to very fast deliveries which is why we are developing the technological means to produce in a more efficient way.
Until now, on-demand production works well with customized items, e. g. sneakers. Does this also work with fashion that you cannot personalize?
Yes 100%, and this is also what we do.
How does the pricing work for each offer?
For each offer we have an onboarding price to train the teams and set up tailor made tools. We have a monthly subscription for the software. A price per piece for the on-demand production service and a price to buy or lease our 4.0 cutting line.
What effect has the digitization of manufacturing / on-demand production on the workshops and suppliers when the number of items / orders are subject to fluctuations? How can they plan – workers, machines, salaries? Is this kind of production socially sustainable?
On the one hand, the digitization of the production helps brands as well as their entire ecosystem to ensure a better visibility on the fluctuation of the products. Thus, allowing more flexibility and agility in answering the demand more closely and reacting more efficiently in the reorder process. By having a shared tool that follows the entire production in real time with their partners, from procurement to expedition, the actors of the supply chain can centralize their data, gain time and focus on the high valued tasks. Digitalizing their production is key not only to answer CSR needs but also to ensure economical benefits.
On the other hand, on-demand production allows brands as well as workshops to handle fluctuations well thanks to weekly capacity booking with the workshops. By doing so, we can optimize the fabric to a maximum and answer the demand faster based on what was already sold, thus ensuring additional sales, less stock and discount.