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Factory Digital Transformation: Why Retailers and Brands Are Acting Now

By CGS, Inc.

Digital transformation has been embraced in many facets of the retail supply chain, from eCommerce to product development to order management. Now it is time for factories to have their day in the digital sun.

  • How can factory performance improve?

  • How can efficiency go up and prices down, without impacting quality?

  • How can your team get a clear, standardized view of supplier performance?

  • How can you gain access to real-time production data?

The answer: Factory Digitalization.

“Extracting value from sourcing is increasingly based on a company’s ability to innovate pragmatically,” a senior private label apparel executive told PwC in the consulting firm’s latest sourcing survey, as reported by Sourcing Journal. “Costs are rising, competition is increasing, and our customers expect high quality at low prices. If we’re not innovating, we’re falling behind.”

CGS BlueCherry® Shop Floor Control, with the world’s largest installation base, offers state-of-the-art production management for:

  • Production control — boosts efficiency creating a culture of improvement - Manufacturers to standardize operations — giving their customers clearer visibility

  • In-line and end line quality control — the gold standard for quality assurance

  • Automation and collection of real-time data — sharing consistent KPI’s with retail partners

“Retailers and brands want their factories to get better through technology — to become more digitized,” said Fred Isenberg, Vice President, Applications Solutions Division at CGS.


Know that your suppliers understand exactly what to do — that factory managers, supervisors, quality control teams and production operators understand your specifications and quality standards. A real-time production management solution (PMS) puts the right tools in their hands to do the job right — the first time.

“For global quality officers and supply chain chiefs, this technology is like having a template they can lay over their factories and know they are going to get consistent results with quality, visibility, productivity and efficiency right off the bat,” said Matt Brosious, Vice President, Strategic Accounts, CGS.

  • 93% of sourcing executives point to technology’s importance in product innovation, with 82% saying they plan to increase tech spending (PwC)


What does it look like when suppliers have transformed themselves into “connected factories”?

Every workstation is equipped with wireless tablets, and there are large flat-panel screens mounted in the plant for all to see KPIs. Each operator has easy access to videos or illustrations of product construction steps, plus instructions in their native language. Operators, supervisors, engineers, managers, and mechanics see the status of line productivity, down machines, and progress toward goals. The entire solution is on the cloud for instantaneous and global visibility.


Keep standards high by sourcing from suppliers with reliable quality — validated and verifiable. Suppliers who digitize their factories automatically track in-line quality metrics in real-time by operator, operation, and machine. They catch problems early and report accurate QC data continuously. They get straight to the source and fix it, maintaining a digital record of issue resolution.


Factories that integrate SFC have access to “smart” sewing solutions, such as Juki JaNets Pro, notice and address quality and operator performance problems right away. Sourcing teams benefit from this and other factory automation such as end-of-line inspection tracking.

Digital transformation in manufacturing supports fast, data-driven problem resolution. Industry 4.0 in action!


Save time and resources by reducing your team’s order status requests and compilation of incoming information from your global supply network. Factories that leverage BlueCherry’s solution provide real-time insights and access to production updates — when and what you want to know.

“Having the ability to see every step in the manufacturing process in real time allows a company to make last-second decisions on when to ship product, what delivery system to use or whether to postpone a delivery altogether,” said the Supply Chain Dive article, “5 Ways Fashion Brands Can Reset Their Supply Chain Strategies.”

Consistent Reporting. Access dashboards showing production status across all supplier’s operations — scalable to an unlimited network of factories. Configure the data you want to view in a consistent format tailored to your team’s specific requirements. See what is happening, in real time, within your factory network, without sending emails, making calls, asking vendors for outdated reports, and updating multiple spreadsheets.

Drill Down to Details that Matter: See precisely where production stands at your desired level of detail. Don’t lose cycle time due to time zone differences. With a secure cloud-based production management solution, all information is accessible to your team on demand, around the clock — by factory, manufacturing line, operation, operator, style, unit, or bundle.

Sustainability/ESG: Support ESG objectives by doing business with preferred suppliers who demonstrate commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Digitalization gives you greater supply chain transparency. When production partners invest in digital transformation, they are equipped to provide verifiable track-and-trace documentation, pay records and ESG KPI’s.

Integration: BlueCherry Shop Floor Control integrates seamlessly with any ERP system and supply chain visibility tool to provide factory-level insights throughout the supply chain.


Strengthen relationships with your best factory partners. For example, enhance collaboration on both good and poor KPI’s to proactively head off problems and seize opportunities together — reducing risks and sharing rewards.

“In the year ahead, brands might consider placing greater emphasis on making their supply chains more resilient to mitigate future risks,” said The State of Fashion 2024 report by the Business of Fashion and McKinsey. “First and foremost, transparency and communication among all stakeholders in the supply chain will likely be paramount in facilitating better information sharing and joint demand forecasting.”

  • 70% of chief procurement officers believe that improving demand transparency with suppliers through systems and processes is critical in navigating market turmoil (McKinsey)

Do More — More Efficiently: Improve your top suppliers’ productivity, opening opportunities to cull and simplify your partner network. By working with digitalized factories, rest assured they will have deep insights into their manufacturing operations, improving efficiency, reducing waste, and controlling costs.

Prepare for the Unpredictable: When will a supplier sewing lines be short of operators due to unforeseen circumstances? SFC technology empowers suppliers to solve operator absenteeism challenges, leveraging operator skills matrices to assign available operators to fill gaps and rebalance production.

Trust and Validate Vendor Visibility: Strong production partners provide the best of both worlds. They have experienced supervisors, managers, engineers, and mechanics keeping an eye on every aspect of the plant and addressing issues as they arise. Now, digitalization offers another layer of visibility with “eyes” on thousands of performance variables. As a result, your production partners:

  • Prevent bottlenecks before they cause problems

  • Catch and correct quality problems early

  • Deliver products reliably and on-time, as promised

  • Provide accurate documentation and actionable insights

Does your team desire standardization and visibility across your supply chain? Would you like to see your suppliers digitize operations to improve quality and increase efficiency? Contact BlueCherry to discuss how BlueCherry® Shop Floor Control delivers these benefits.

This article was published by CGS, Inc. February 15, 2024. CGS, Inc. is a member of SPESA.

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