In the apparel industry, 'the East and the West are different from one another. In the West, the view of safety, security, stability, sustainability and social responsibility is progressive. It is a movement and it means something. In the East, in general, they choose to, in the words of one retail executive, "fight, avoid, hide and ignore whenever possible." That's the view of Bob McKee, Infor fashion industry strategy director, in an April 6 guest editorial in Sourcing Journal magazine, headlined 'Complying with Ethical Sourcing to Satisfy Consumer Demand.'
Here are excerpts:
All companies compete as supply chains
Whether or not you're aware, your company competes as a supply chain and it does so in an age that increasingly demands transparency. Nowadays, you are often one tweet away from disaster - and not just as a company, but as a supply chain as well. It takes the failure of only one supplier in the chain to make the entire process come under attack. ...
Have you ever been to an actual supply chain meeting? If it truly spans the chain, it is an uncomfortable meeting - disruptive and unusual.
The differences between sourcing in Asia vs. the Americas
In the apparel industry, the world is divided into two parts: China and not-China. The majority of the retailers and brands in the U.S. source from Asia. To them, "The Land of Not-China" is divided into three parts: Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Americas. Many retailers have not utilized suppliers in the Americas for a long time and consequently have perceptions that are no longer real.
How do we close the East/West gap?
1. Knowledge - The East/West gap is closing. As China becomes more difficult for retailers to source from, the West is improving and beginning to follow in the East's footsteps with a willingness to listen to what brands are asking for, as well as anticipate their needs. In activewear, the West has even developed a world-class synthetics supply chain city in El Salvador.