Key Topics:Industry 4.0 in the Apparel Industry, Smart Factory-Smart People, Mixed Reality Learning
Prepare for your Digitalization or prepare for your Bankruptcy! A harsh statement that I heard in a conversation with a factory owner from Bangladesh. But somehow it resonated with the experience that I had when starting the digital transformation of the Hugo Boss Factory in Izmir.
I started in bespoke tailoring in 1984 and made my way to become a Managing Director in 2015. During that time I was always passionate about technology and innovation to empower people doing a better job.
When digital transformations should result in success, the most important part is probably to take everyone with you, to understand all levels and make it useful for all. That is what my team and me learned while stepping up the corporate ladder and that is what we now deliver to our clients.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
I started as a bespoke Tailor and therefore learned about this industry from the very roots. In addition I was always intrigued by technology and in combination of that, trying to optimise product development and production. In 2015 I became managing Director and had the chance to deploy the theories of industry 4.0 in the factory with 4000 people. That was firsthand learning and execution at the same time. From my role as the PnL responsible and from my role as a digital strategy driver.
What sub-topics are you most passionate about?
I am most interested in the combination of technology and people. That implies the digital support of workers in terms of provided information or better workflow tracking. The other part is really the education part. Making people learn in their speed, in their way not only drove me as a parent of two children, but later on in the factory when thinking about learning from the best. Building is set up with digital devices to learn from the best in class drives me a lot.
Who influences you within these topics?
Of course everyone is looking to SpaceX and Tesla nowadays, and of course I am following them as well. But I was also influenced by institutions like the Singularity University and the RWTH University in Aachen. And also Fraunhofer Institute is a great source for me.
What challenges are brands facing in this space?
I think in the apparel industry there is still the idea of moving to the next cheaper country instead of developing and improving the current setting. That is toxic when thinking about technology. There are so many low wage countries on this planet that there is still room for the fashion caravan to move. The new impatiens of customers is directing against that development. It is not only about cheap anymore, but also about flexible and fast.
What do you think the future holds in this space?
I think with rising complexity and impatience of markets the way how the apparel industry is organised today will change. Some will change with near shoring activities, others will improve their set ups with technology and therefore stay in the business. More scattered orders will drive company owners towards more use of technology.
What brands are leading the way in this space?
There are a couple of brands investing in this journey and there are a couple of manufacturers investing in this. To name a few, Esquel is investing a lot in Technology, also Hirderamani. It depends on the industry areas. Textile production is better than apparel manufacturing.
If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?
The best way to work with me is fully digital on the six months program “the Bachelor”. It is interactive, change driven and prepares companies for their needed investments. From a strategic point of view it will give the right direction for this new situation on the markets and in technology.
What are your passions outside of work?
I love handcrafts and therefore do a lot by myself in the house and the garden. Also I love art, music and spending time with my wife in the mountains.
What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Fields - Head of Influencer Marketing
As Head of Influencer Marketing Joe's central role is to build relationships with influencers and connect them to brands. Joe is also tasked with promoting the influencer marketplace and delivering value to the influencer community.