Textile Supply Chain Transparency: examining the organisational mindset for digital transformation
Amidst the recent proliferation of digital solutions for supply chain transparency, the UNECE Toolbox shows significant promise, considering the substantial contribution from over 250 experts in 56 countries (UNECE, 2020). The UNECE blockchain enabled system is designed to create an inter-linked and immutable record of fibre provenance, guaranteeing data confidentiality in compliance with applicable regulations, while offering visibility to all stakeholders along the supply chain. Pilots have been launched to test the system’s approach to the identification and coding of key information at critical data points along the value chain. However, few fashion industry stakeholders have implemented the system into their operations beyond pilot schemes (Agrawal et al., 2021). Through a qualitative approach, including industry data analysis and data gathered from stakeholder focus groups, including brands, manufacturers and technology providers, this study identifies the challenges still facing fashion enterprises, and so seeks clarification on adoption hesitancy. It finds that the investment in training, operational upheaval, and the lack of ‘digital mindset’ are some of the challenges yet to be overcome by firms. Importantly, the true globalisation of supply chain transparency is set to have a feasible future with digital applications such as the UNECE toolbox – but perhaps more practical application user interfaces as well as a digital mindset on the part of the firms are also required.