Subilme: What is Supplycompass?
Flora Davidson: We are a design-to-delivery sourcing platform for fashion, accessories and interior brands. We help brands and manufacturers build more responsible, faster and leaner supply chains using the power of technology. Our motto is the famous Gandhi phrase: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and we believe that to build a sustainable society we must redesign our current systems and think long-term.
Subilme: How does it work?
FD: Brands sign up, submit a request and then get matched immediately with a trusted, vetted manufacturer that one of our team has personally visited. They can view their profile, learn about their capabilities, view photos and watch films. They then create online tech packs or specifications that draw out all the information their manufacturer needs to produce a perfect sample. One of our tech team is on-hand throughout production to assist and manage the relationship, communication and order between the brand and the manufacturer. Everything is done from one dashboard, making it super simple and effective.
S: What inspired you to set up the platform?
FD: After seeing businesses of all sizes struggle, we knew there was an opportunity to use tech to disrupt and fundamentally change the way that brands and manufacturers find each other and work together. We wanted to provide easy access to the best responsible manufacturers around the world, making sustainability the easy option and bringing structure and efficiency to the process. Our aim is to bring global supply chains into the digital age and to accelerate the transition towards more responsible ways of designing and producing. We made a decision early on that we would build a new digitally enabled way of sourcing that worked not just for brands, but for every single player in the supply chain.
S: What did it take to start up?
FD: We couldn’t build a supply chain platform from a desk in London – it was crucial that we spent time inside the factories. In preparation for our launch, we lived in India for two years. During that time, we visited over 200 factories armed with a camera and lots of questions. We wanted to know what they felt was going wrong with supply chains and what they needed from brands in order for things to work better for everybody involved in the process. We embraced the opportunity to absorb as much as we could – all the time gaining inspiration for how we should shape and build our business. We found some incredible manufacturers, suppliers and mills who think differently and are open to new ways of working.
S: What are the key challenges to building sustainable supply chains?
FD: One of the biggest challenges within the industry is the lack of transparency, so this is a vital starting point for the direction that responsible supply chains need to go in. Supply chains are largely stuck in the dark ages – inefficient and fragmented. Brands are struggling to contend with ineffective communication, poor processes and a lack of collaboration between partners. Fundamentally, increased transparency will do three key things: help protect those who are at risk of exploitation; provide all parties with greater certainty; and drive innovation and collaboration.
S: What are your day-to-day operations?
FD: As co-funders, Gus Bartholomew and myself are the two driving forces behind our company. Gus handles the manufacturing side of the business in Europe and India; spending much of his time working on-site with the company’s factory partners. He also manages the tech development of the intuitive Supplycompass platform, which includes easy-to-use tech packs and seamless production management tools. I head of client relations, sourcing and production management across all live brands. I also look after the company’s sustainability plan, creative direction, and all brand and product strategy.
S: Beyond sourcing sustainably, what other benefits does your service offer to brands?
FD: Brands immediately see the savings we bring them (e.g. reducing the time spent managing production by 40%, reducing the time from design to delivery by 50% and saving up to 45% on production costs) and feel a greater sense of certainty and control over their supply chain. Whilst responsible manufacturing has become the new norm that consumers expect, brands are having to be more competitive on their pricing and have to deliver products quicker to stay ahead. They need a responsive solution that enables this, which we deliver.
S: What's next in store for Supplycompass?
FD: We have big ambitions. We are on a mission to create the world’s most trusted supply chains; to offer the best innovative solutions, and to provide intuitive and seamless experience for brands and manufacturers. But one step at a time, so for now our focus is on helping brands and factories find each other and work better together.