Technological advancements, circular design principles and innovative raw materials are rapidly transforming the apparel industry, but lack of transparency continues to present a significant obstacle to sustainable sector-wide improvement across environmental, social and governance issues. The problem is one Target is working to address in its new partnership with Inspectorio, a graduate of the company’s Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator program.
The Minneapolis-based startup is reinventing the inspection process through digitalization, replacing the standard pen and paper procedure with a platform that allows for more accurate and efficient assessment, as well as real-time analytics.
Through a mobile application and web-based platform, inspectors can quickly and efficiently collect data and share it with suppliers, brands and retailers. The platform offers unique tools such as GPS tracking, which allows companies to quickly track inspectors in the field, and an activity feed and alerts, which help improve visibility and response times.
In addition to expediting the inspection process, the platform also speeds up the remediation process, predicts defects in products and provides factory risk assessments and reports in real-time. Overall, the product makes it easier for companies to prevent and mitigate reputational risk by staying on top of the goings-on of their supply chain and quickly addressing issues as they arise. Companies can also access historical data to evaluate inspector performance and benchmark them for better workforce management.
“So while we love the ease that Inspectorio’s new technology will bring, we’re most excited about two things: First, having this kind of transparency will allow us to make real-time decisions about our products. And second, it will help us greatly improve the consistency and quality of the products we offer, making it really clear where and how they’re made — that’s something guests care a lot about and have come to expect from Target.”
Inspectorio was one of 10 startups selected to participate in the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator last summer. After the completion of the program, Inspectorio launched a six-month pilot with Target, which concluded in March. The retail giant also made a considerable contribution in seed funding to Inspectorio, making it the first Target + Techstars alum to receive post-program investment from Target. Now, Target and Inspectorio are rolling out the technology platform with 50 of its apparel vendors in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. The reach of the initiative equates to 100 factories and 10 percent of Target’s product portfolio.