Photo: Harry Harrison
For developing country suppliers, no other service
may be more important than sourcing to compete in the post-2005
The elimination of quotas has changed the global clothing
industry forever, raising the bar for suppliers. The facilities
that were needed to compete in the industry before January 2005 are
no longer sufficient. The ability to ship a decent garment, on time
every time and at a competitive price, is no longer an asset. It
has become an entry-level requirement.
Without these basic facilities, the client will not even talk to a
manufacturer. And with them, manufacturers will only be invited to
go to the end of a very long line of other factories queuing up to
face clients who ask: "What can you do for me?"
If the manufacturer's answer is only, "I can ship a decent garment
on time every time and at a competitive price", they will be out of
business because thousands of other factories are prepared to
provide the same facilities, plus other services.
To survive in the new industry, producers must be able to reply,
"Besides the product you need, I can provide the services you
want." Sourcing fabric and trims is the single greatest service the
factory can offer the customer. Few factories - even the largest -
have developed the required skills.
How did this situation come about? Its roots lie in changes brought
about by the evolution of the industry in recent years.