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David Birnbaum

Articles by David Birnbaum

For five months industrial action at US West Coast ports seriously affected imports from AsiaCOMMENT: US ports dispute skews sourcing shifts 13 May 2015

The US West Coast ports dispute is having a lingering impact on US apparel import figures, with the latest data showing year-on-year trends skewed by logistical bottle-necks. Perhaps the one clear trend, according to David Birnbaum, is that the big winner was China.

The MGMA must play a leading role in moving MyanmarCOMMENT: Capacity building key to Myanmar momentum 30 April 2015

A focus on the development of locally-owned factories is an impediment to the development of the garment industry in Myanmar, David Birnbaum believes. Instead, he suggests the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association (MGMA) must take a leading role in moving the industry forward.

Many workers have left the industry thanks to the low wages offered by the traditional Myanmar owned factoriesCOMMENT: Myanmar - right time, right place, new challenges 14 April 2015

As apparel retailers and brands continue to seek alternatives to their traditional suppliers, David Birnbaum contends that Myanmar is the last remaining place in Asia that can support a major garment industry. But if it is to reach its true potential, manufacturers and customers must work together to overcome some serious problems.

Bangladesh’s market share to the US is falling, but to the EU and elsewhere continues to riseCOMMENT: Failing in Bangladesh - myth vs reality 12 March 2015

The accepted wisdom is that the Bangladesh garment industry’s state of decline is the result of the Tazreen Fire and the Rana Plaza building collapse. However, much as we would like to believe that goodness and mercy trumps FOB price and profit, the data tells another story.

Skills or new technology: which gives better leverage to a manufacturing country?Birnbaum bites back: Skills or new technology? 25 February 2015

Skills or new technology: which gives better leverage to a manufacturing country? This question has been posed to global garment industry expert David Birnbaum, who has agreed to share his advice and opinions by answering questions from just-style readers on topics of special interest.

Small and medium-sized clothing factories could investigate four possible strategic solutionsBirnbaum bites back: SME survival in a world of giants 13 February 2015

Global garment industry expert David Birnbaum has agreed to share his advice and opinions by answering questions from just-style readers on topics of special interest. Our first query asks about operating small and medium-sized factories in an industry dominated by multinational giants.

Outlook 2015: Two key shifts for customers and suppliers 15 January 2015

In his take on the key apparel industry issues to watch in 2015, David Birnbaum homes in on the problems facing those brands who have set their sights on developing markets in China and Russia; and a solution for the new model full-service factories.

Government is pushing importers to reduce buying office commissionsCOMMENT: Defending the new model buying office 5 January 2015

In recent articles David Birnbaum has discussed the changing role of the buying office, how to quantify performance, and the issue of transfer pricing. The next challenge, he says, is the need for detailed audits to ensure that buying offices set their commissions fairly.

For years, buying offices have accrued substantial amounts of tax-free profit for their customer-ownersCOMMENT: The future of transfer pricing 23 December 2014

Governments and tax authorities are finally getting smarter when it comes to the issue of transfer pricing – the prices charged between related businesses, such as buying offices and their parent companies - as David Birnbaum explains.

The middleman is responsible for ensuring facilities carry out the work required by the customer at an acceptable level of performanceCOMMENT: The decline of the buying office 18 December 2014

Twenty years ago major garment importers and retailers began to move away from independent agents to set up wholly-owned buying offices where every middleman performed the same work. Fast forward to 2014, and the range of services has soared in both number and complexity. The challenge, now, is to quantify the level of performance - and commission, writes David Birnbaum.

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