025. Manufactured x GIZ FABRIC: Edwin Keh on Data Supply Chains, Outdated Forecasting Models, and Disrupting the Fashion Industry

Which data will disrupt the fashion industry? Where will it come from? How will different supply chain actors use it? What potential does it have for shaking up brand-supplier roles and relationships? [...]
16 Feb 2021
00:40:17
Manufactured
Manufactured
025. Manufactured x GIZ FABRIC: Edwin Keh on Data Supply Chains, Outdated Forecasting Models, and Disrupting the Fashion Industry
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As a result of our collaboration with and support from GIZ FABRIC we had the immense good fortune of connecting with Edwin Keh.

Edwin is currently CEO of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel. Prior to that, he worked in senior supply chain roles within companies like Walmart, Donna Karan, and Payless Shoes as well as an educator at the Wharton School and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – to name just a few.

In this first part of our conversation, Edwin shares a bit of context about his own career and HKRITA, setting the stage for a reflective discussion about sustainability frameworks – which Edwin defines the shorthand we use to make sense of the world.

And speaking of frameworks, he suggests that making sense of supply chains requires thinking about them on three levels: physical, financial, and data. He shares why he’s most excited about the data supply chain, and why he thinks it has the potential to disrupt the industry.

We get into which data, exactly, he thinks will disrupt the industry. Where will it come from? How will different supply chain actors use it? What potential does it have for shaking up brand-supplier roles and relationships? And how will it intersect with and shape the way physical and financial supply chains evolve?

Want to dig deeper ?

The FABRIC project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and supports the Asian textile industry in its transformation towards fair production for people and the environment.

Learn more about GIZ FABRIC’s online seminar series “Getting Through the Crisis Together: Asian Dialogues on Sustainability in the Textile and Garment Industry.” Back in November 2020, Edwin was a speaker on the eleventh seminar within this series, which aimed to tack stock of where the industry is now, more or less one year into the pandemic. All the seminars are free and available online, and we highly recommend checking them out.”

Professional Forecasters Have Been Getting It Wrong Since the Beginning – this article gives some great general context for the history of forecasting. Margaret Heffernen is the author of Uncharted, a book that explores how forecasting fails us and better ways of living, working and thinking in the face of uncertainty. We highly recommend checking out her Ted talk, too.

Read Kim’s piece on why shared risk is the key to radically transforming the fashion industry. Or watch a short animated video we put together about it.

Edwin refers to the bullwhip effect, and it’s pretty essential to understanding supply chains more generally. Watch this short illustrated video for a very accessible overview.

Find out more about the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.

Manufactured - Sustainability and the making of fashion

Photo Tom Fisk

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