When we talk about textile sourcing, many questions arise regarding this concept because, while it isn’t widely known, what it represents to the global textile industry is mainstream knowledge.
Three “permanent” goals of textile sourcing.
In textile sourcing, or the supply system, there are three permanent goals: purchasing at the best price to maximize margin, manufacturing a quality product and in the shortest possible time.
Since the 1990s and especially after China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), a process of offshoring and globalization of textile sourcing has begun by which the goals of reducing prices and improving margins were largely met.
Gradually and as Asian factories became more technological and their workers more experienced, the quality started to improve and it reached the required international standards. The second goal had been achieved.
And we get to the third goal: reducing times and increasing response speed. This is perhaps the most relevant objective nowadays and the one that needed the biggest intellectual, professional and resource efforts in order to be achieved. But it is also the one that provides the greatest benefits for the leading companies in the sector.
Fashion industry is simple and complex at the same time.
There is a marked contradiction in this industry in terms of supply. Fashion production itself is simple but the product has now become highly perishable, so the supply and logistic processes and systems have had to become more sophisticated to enable companies to adapt and react promptly to the market.
Clearly, the variable that has revolutionized the fashion sector is speed. This is easier to achieve the largest the purchase volume of a brand as the production scale is what creates the necessary flexibility for providers to accept special orders from their clients.
Surely, speed in the fashion sector has penetrated and has modified the traditional system in the textile industry that involved two collections per season a year. And logically, in the sector, we are all after that goal, but let me share a thought.
“Speed is no good without control”
In order to understand what I want to convey, you must think literally. Imagine an F1 car with a powerful engine, amazing top speed, but without a chassis efficient enough to provide controlled traction. It would be very fast but not efficient enough to achieve the best desired result.
In our car, the fashion business, the speed variable is fast manufacturing; control and safety of results are provided by the sales price and the stipulated margin. These last aspects represent the controls, the brakes, those that enable us to “fit our hot rod” in the exact point of balance within our business.
This article was originally published in America Retail