In 2021, a fast fashion e-tailer brand commissioned Anthesis to undertake an in-depth review into purchasing practices, a topic of growing importance that is crucial to protecting workers in global supply chains. Through the review, the brand sought to understand its suppliers’ experiences on this subject, and to then assess how the brand measures up against both its own expectations and the benchmark set by Anthesis for a ‘sustainable’ fast fashion brand. The brand also wanted a clear set of recommendations and actions that the company could implement to mitigate against any challenges and risks identified in the study to improve sustainable performance.
Anthesis selected several key areas of the buying process to examine in this study, including forecasting, costs, order placement and timings, which all form an important part of responsible buying and manufacturing up and down supply chains. Anthesis created an online data gathering tool covering these areas, which was sent to the brand’s key suppliers. Upon completion, Anthesis completed supplier interviews to validate and gain a deeper insight into the responses. Stakeholders from the brand’s Buying, CSR and Technical teams were also interviewed to understand internal processes and ways of working.
All findings were combined and analysed to identify recurring themes, gaps, and to develop a roadmap in line with industry best practice.
- Review of internal knowledge, processes and ways of working
- Understanding of purchasing practices and the apparel buying process
- Data gathering and insights
- Stakeholder interviews
- Gap analysis and development of a recommendation roadmap
“Anthesis were an excellent partner to carry out this review. They brought a wealth of technical knowledge in order to effectively gather information on our internal processes and how these impact our supply chain. The resulting report provided a useful and accessible set of recommendations, supporting us on a clear roadmap toward industry best practice.”
Head of CSR
Anthesis analysed the supplier and internal stakeholder responses to identify any recurring themes, areas of praise, and areas of challenge, and compared these to external industry benchmarks and insights where relevant. The insights and anonymised findings were written into an internal report for the brand, which highlighted key trends and risks, and included a series of short-, medium- and long-term goals and recommendations.
The review gave the brand a clearer picture of how its purchasing practices and decisions impact its suppliers, helping the brand to understand the key risks and priority areas in its supply chain related to this topic. Identifying these themes, comparing the company to the industry benchmark, and developing the subsequent recommendation roadmap, provided the brand with the tools needed to mitigate those risks and build better relationships with its suppliers.