Industry Strategy Director Fashion
Bob McKee has spent more than 35 years working with textile, apparel, footwear, home textiles and accessories companies. He has held a variety of positions including VP of Operations, VP of Manufacturing, VP of Sourcing, VP of Materials Management, Materials Manager, Production Control Manager, Production Planner, DC Manager and DC Supervisor as well as being an independent consultant to the industry.
In 1998, Bob joined Intentia International, which joined forces with Lawson Software in 2006. Bob has implemented 7 different enterprise management solutions in 7 different companies.
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Multichannel is More than just a Website
14th January 2011
In the Western world, Fashion Retail has been suffering since September / October 2008. And no matter what you or I may think should happen - if Fashion Retail suffers - so do all the members of the supply chain. (we'll talk about what's going on in Asia at another time - since we see a completely different path for both growth and evolution in the Chinese and Indian retail business models.)
Traditional bricks and mortar retail has worked hard to find growth since the economic downturn - but, with little success eking out barely as little as 3% year over year sales growth. But, in 2009 with typical traditional retail businesses reporting low sales growth - those organizations involved in what has been dubbed "Fast Fashion" saw growth rates in excess of 16% - pretty good - until you look even further into those organizations that have more fully embraced multichannel sales techniques. Those heavily involved in aggressive multichannel saw growth rates closer to 40%.
So - let's go to my friends at Wikipedia:
A multichannel retailer is a company that sells directly to the public via more than one distribution channel. Most multichannel retailers sell through mail order catalogs and "brick & mortar" retail stores. Some multichannel retailers sell online as well.
Typically, a multichannel retailer begins with a traditional retail storefront, then adds a mail order catalog and finally, once those two channels prove lucrative, expands to a third selling channel by establishing an online presence.
Although this is the normal sequence of events, there are other successful multichannel retailers, who have started with either a web channel or direct mail channel first and then expanded their marketing efforts into the "real world" of traditional retail storefront selling environments.
Establishing more than one way for their customers to shop for their products, is a method for retailers to attempt to grow their monthly revenues and gain new customers, who in turn can be marketed to via other channels not used during their initial purchase. For example, shoppers at traditional retail storefronts may also be encouraged to join customer loyalty programs, which may allow further marketing to the customer via direct mail and / or online via E-mail.
The Distribution Channel and Managerial Decisions
The distribution channel is defined as a chain of intermediaries, each passing the product down the chain to the next organization, before it finally reaches the consumer or end-user. This process is known as the 'distribution chain' or the 'channel.' Each of the elements in these chains will have their own specific needs, which the producer must take into account, along with those of the all-important end-user. A number of alternate 'channels' of distribution may be available.
The channel decision is very important. In theory at least, there is a form of trade-off: the cost of using intermediaries to achieve wider distribution is supposedly lower. Indeed, most consumer goods manufacturers could never justify the cost of selling direct to their consumers, except by mail order. Many suppliers seem to assume that once their product has been sold into the channel, into the beginning of the distribution chain, their job is finished. Yet that distribution chain is merely assuming a part of the supplier's responsibility; and, if they have any aspirations to be market-oriented, their job should really be extended to managing all the processes involved in that chain, until the product or service arrives with the end-user. This may involve a number of decisions on the part of the supplier:
- Channel membership
- Channel motivation
- Monitoring and managing channels
Types of Marketing Channel
- Intensive distribution - Where the majority of resellers stock the 'product' (with convenience products, for example, and particularly the brand leaders in consumer goods markets) price competition may be evident.
- Selective distribution - This is the normal pattern (in both consumer and industrial markets) where 'suitable' resellers stock the product.
- Exclusive distribution - Only specially selected resellers or authorized dealers (typically only one per geographical area) are allowed to sell the 'product'.
It is difficult enough to motivate direct employees to provide the necessary sales and service support. Motivating the owners and employees of the independent organizations in a distribution chain requires even greater effort. There are many devices for achieving such motivation. Perhaps the most usual is 'incentive': the supplier offers a better margin, to tempt the owners in the channel to push the product rather than its competitors; or a compensation is offered to the distributors' sales personnel, so that they are tempted to push the product. Dent defines this incentive as a Channel Value Proposition or business case, with which the supplier sells the channel member on the commercial merits of doing business together. He describes this as selling business models not products.
Monitoring and Managing Channels
In much the same way that the organization's own sales and distribution activities need to be monitored and managed, so will those of the distribution chain.
In practice, many organizations use a mix of different channels; in particular, they may complement a direct sales force, calling on the larger accounts, with agents, covering the smaller customers and prospects. These channels show the marketing strategies of an organization. Effective management of distribution channels requires making and implementing decision in these areas.
What I've said in a number of presentations over the past several months has been:
- "don't be afraid to think "out of the box" ..."
- "put theory into practice - necessity is the mother of invention - and - desperate times require desperate measures".
The technology exists to deploy multichannel sales models - the only thing missing in the equation is the willingness to take the plunge - the calculated risk. But, realize that there can be - and should be a very broad definition to what constitutes a multichannel sales and distribution model. It can be, and should be, more than just a web site. The use of and engagement in 'social media' is, and should be, more than your name or coupons on Facebook, MySpace (yeah some people still use it), or Twitter. If you want to find a challenge to your view of multichannel - look no further than a Chicago based Tee Shirt company - Threadless.com - - just watch any of the number of video's that you can find easily on YouTube (ahh haa - another avenue for the Social Media side of Multichannel efforts).
I saw a recent survey of the Top issues on the minds of Fashion Executives. The Number One issue again this year - is Unit Cost. Lower Unit Cost to improve margin - yet - if you look at markdowns as a controllable cost - it is the single biggest erosion to margin in any Fashion company. And the proper deployment of a smart multichannel business philosophy and strategy can assist in controlling or at least mitigating these controllable costs.
Please share your thoughts with me. Have you tried multichannel distribution? Have you come up with a new multichannel idea?
20th July 2010
Over the course of the last several months I have attended numerous seminars and events supposedly centered on the topic of sustainability. To be perfectly honest the only thing I was able to take away from these events was the fact that nobody really knows how to define sustainability in this industry. Conversations would start out discussing environmental responsibility and end up mired in the topic of corporate social responsibility - or even macro economic responsibility.
In fact, in one case, I listened to a presentation (a presentation that I had heard before) that in essence puts forward the notion that the fiber Tencel is good and sustainable because it comes from birch (or eucalyptus) trees in Switzerland - but products made from bamboo fiber are bad and not sustainable, because they come from bamboo in China. If you know your fibers, you know that both are cellulose based - and therefore very much the same - both bearing similar characteristics to rayon (the original cellulose based fiber).
From my Wikipedia:
"Lyocell is a regenerated cellulose fiber made from dissolving pulp (bleached wood pulp). It was first manufactured in 1987 by Courtaulds Fibres UK at their pilot plant S25. As of 2010[update] it is manufactured by Lenzing AG of Lenzing, Austria, under the brand name "Lyocell by Lenzing", and under the brand name Tencel by the Tencel group, now owned by Lenzing AG.
The fiber is used to make textiles for clothing and other purposes.
Bamboo fibre is a cellulose fibre extracted or fabricated from natural bamboo (and possibly other additives) and is made from (or in the case of material fabrication, is) the pulp of bamboo plants. It is usually not made from the fibres of the plant, but is a synthetic viscose made from bamboo cellulose.
Bamboo has gained popularity as a "green" fibre. Manufacturers tout the fact that bamboo can be cultivated quickly, can be used as a cash crop to develop impoverished regions of the third world, and is a natural fibre (as opposed to popular synthetics like polyester) whose cultivation results in a decrease in greenhouse gases.
Manufacture of bamboo viscose
Recent technologies have allowed cellulose processed from bamboo to be spun into viscose yarn . Modern bamboo yarn is therefore a regenerated cellulose fibre. One such technology was filed in 2003 as US patent 7313906 by inventors Xiangqi Zhou, Zheng Liu, Liming Liu, and Hao Geng developed one such method of turning bamboo into yarn, creating new uses for bamboo in clothing.
The steps in the manufacturing of bamboo viscose are as follows:
1) Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted using a steaming process and then mechanically crushed
2) The crushed bamboo is soaked in sodium hydroxide to produce cellulose. A common misconception is that sodium hydroxide is a harmful chemical . If used in a responsible manner sodium hydroxide has absolutely no effect on the environment and health of workers. It is routinely used in the processing of organic cotton into fibre and is approved by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) and the Soil Association  Sodium hydroxide does not remain as a residue on clothing as it easily washes away and can be neutralised to harmless and non-toxic sodium sulphate salt. A chemical used in this step that can cause nervous system damage with chronic exposure is carbon disulfide .
3) The bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles (like a sieve) into an acid bath that hardens the solution into bamboo fibre threads and neutralizes the caustic sodium hydroxide.
4) The fibre threads are spun into bamboo yarn and rolled onto spools.
The processing of the cellulose pulp into fibre can be cleaner than the processing used for conventional viscose if a closed loop process captures and reclaims all the solvents used in the manufacturing, though this is not standard practice . The resulting bamboo viscose fibre is very soft to the touch.
Alternative manufacturing processes
The Swiss company Litrax  is one company involved in the manufacturing of bamboo fibre. Litrax claims to use a more natural way of processing the bamboo into fibre. In this the woody part of the bamboo is crushed mechanically before a natural enzyme retting and washing process is used to break down the walls and extract the bamboo fibre. This bast fibre is then spun into yarn . In fine counts the yarn has a silky touch . The same manufacturing process is used to produce linen fabric from flax or hemp. Bamboo fabric made from this process is sometimes called bamboo linen. The natural processing of litrax bamboo allows the fibre to remain strong to produce an extremely high quality product. This process gives a material that is very durable."
The issue of environmental responsibility is not a new one. As you may know, I was a child in the 60s. We also campaigned for ecological and social responsibility. But, as you can see - that attempt also lost its way in a muddle of definition. Definition - and frankly - while people may have believed - when it hit their wallet - their concern began to wane. A combination of marketing hype - and - the reality of "it costs more to save mother earth" - was just too much to 'sustain' interest in the movement at that time.
So, getting back to a definition of sustainability.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. For humans it is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which in turn depends on the well being of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.
Sustainability has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth, from local to a global scale and over various time periods. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. Invisible chemical cycles redistribute water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon through the world's living and non-living systems, and have sustained life for millions of years. As the earth's human population has increased, natural ecosystems have declined and changes in the balance of natural cycles has had a negative impact on both humans and other living systems.
There is abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably, and returning human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits will require a major collective effort. Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities), reappraising economic sectors (permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture), using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy), to adjustments in individual lifestyles that conserve natural resources.
Definitions of sustainability often refer to the "three pillars" of social, environmental and economic sustainability (2006)
A representation of sustainability showing how both economy and society are constrained by environmental limits (2003)
The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up). Dictionaries provide more than ten meanings for sustain, the main ones being to "maintain", "support", or "endure". However, since the 1980s sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth and this has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development, that of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations on March 20, 1987: "sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
At the 2005 World Summit it was noted that this requires the reconciliation of environmental, social and economic demands - the "three pillars" of sustainability. This view has been expressed as an illustration using three overlapping ellipses indicating that the three pillars of sustainability are not mutually exclusive and can be mutually reinforcing.
The UN definition is not universally accepted and has undergone various interpretations. What sustainability is, what its goals should be, and how these goals are to be achieved is all open to interpretation. For many environmentalists the idea of sustainable development is an oxymoron as development seems to entail environmental degradation. Ecological economist Herman Daly has asked, "what use is a sawmill without a forest?" From this perspective, the economy is a subsystem of human society, which is itself a subsystem of the biosphere, and a gain in one sector is a loss from another. This can be illustrated as three concentric circles.
A universally accepted definition of sustainability is elusive because it is expected to achieve many things. On the one hand it needs to be factual and scientific, a clear statement of a specific "destination". The simple definition "sustainability is improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-systems", though vague, conveys the idea of sustainability having quantifiable limits. But sustainability is also a call to action, a task in progress or "journey" and therefore a political process, so some definitions set out common goals and values. The Earth Charter speaks of "a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace."
To add complication the word sustainability is applied not only to human sustainability on Earth, but to many situations and contexts over many scales of space and time, from small local ones to the global balance of production and consumption. It can also refer to a future intention: "sustainable agriculture" is not necessarily a current situation but a goal for the future, a prediction. For all these reasons sustainability is perceived, at one extreme, as nothing more than a feel-good buzzword with little meaning or substance but, at the other, as an important but unfocused concept like "liberty" or "justice". It has also been described as a "dialogue of values that defies consensual definition".
Here are a couple concerns - - and maybe even conclusions that I have come up with while writing this: (btw - can you tell from the spelling that most of the Wikipedia entries came from English English speaking individuals - - not American English speakers?)
I'm afraid that the sustainability movement of today - is destined to suffer the same fate as the movement of the 60's ...
- more hype than reality (the debate over Tencel vs Bamboo) ...
- more marketing than movement (every 'hangtag has to say "Green" today - even if there is nothing green (or sustainable) about the product) ...
- a great idea - until it hits the wallet (most recycled or truly organic products cost more) ...
And - If I learned nothing else in my years as an apparel operations executive -
- If you can't define it you can't measure it ...
- If you can't measure it you can't control it ...
- If you can't define it, measure it, or control it - - - you certainly can't succeed with it ...
Okay - so - now let's move to a discussion on Fast Fashion ... next time -
The companies in this industry that are making good money in this 'down economy' are those who have embraced the concept of Fast Fashion - - - but, how sustainable is Fast Fashion ... ??? Does the idea of 'throw away fashion' actually fly in the face of the sustainability movement ... ???
Lawson for Fashion - only the begining
18th February 2010
Don't you just hate it when 'the media' tells us that "The World will never be the same... as a result of blah, blah, blah .. " after any event that occurs to us? Certainly there have been some significant events that we can point to in the past few decades where you can say that's true. But, seriously - it's a phrase that's used all too often - and - all too frivolously. Not everything that happens is 'game changing'. And - as you know - I've been involved with the apparel and footwear industry for the past 40 years - both in the industry and in support of the industry.
So now I'm going to say it - the events of the past year have changed this industry in a way that will never allow it to 'be the same'. This has been a 'game changer' - when you have a major retail organization like Macy's - and their Chairman makes the statement (paraphrase) 'we'd rather lose sales than carry any risky inventory' ... you've changed the nature of retail forever. And - if you've changed the mechanism that is the primary delivery channel to consumers - needless to say - if you change the delivery to the consumer - everything that supports that mechanism changes in support.
So, where do we go from here? Well - in order to answer that - let's take a look at the organizations that faired the best during the past year. Hey, since I'm from the U.S. - - how else would we measure success - who made the money? Those who did the best in this troubled economy are those who have embraced the principles of 'Fast Fashion', 'Lean Retail', 'Lean Supply Chain', and 'Lean Manufacturing'. In the U.S. - retail had about a 3% year over year increase at the end of '09. But, some (those embracers) did infinitely better - pulling in year over year increases of more than 20%.
So how do you go from where you are - to where you need (or want) to be? Well, the first thing is to shake off your fear - and decide you're going to change the game before the game gets changed on you - and a key to it all is the proper use of proper technology. Sure - you can do anything manually - you can control everything you need to in your supply chain manually - - problem is - you can't do enough of it - fast enough to make a difference - without the use of technology.
Let's start with the development process - you have to have PLM and PDM systems that are truly web enabled - sharing designs and development criteria over the internet - - development advise and consent at the speed of business. That product data and development progression has to be integrated into the ERP (or core business systems) - things can't be left to manual re-entry. Collaboration is a must. Anything to enhance collaboration - anything and everything - both internal and external. Share information with all your supply chain partners.
Okay - now we have to get it made. We have to get it made in lean discrete assortments of product. Assortments that sell - and are needed to retail moving at the proper rate with enhanced package management.
Advanced Bulk Order functionality deals with much of the vague demand planning that leads organizations to take on unnecessary inventory risks.
You'll also have to have it all wrapped by a very friendly user interface.
And more and more to discuss - all designed to help to take your company from a fear of a down economy to turning in numbers 6 times the industry average.
Lawson for Fashion : Generally Available February 18, 2010.
25th January 2010
Gray, gray, gray - this time of year in this part of the U.S. is just plain depressing. I was driving to work this morning - as you may know - I live in Chicago. I'm sure you can guess what it's like in Chicago at this time of year. Gray … everything is gray - gray and depressing - - Have I painted a clear enough picture? Is it gray?
Some people have it much worse during this time of year than other people. Some people suffer from SAD.
Seasonal affective disorder
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression or winter blues, is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or, less frequently, in the summer, spring or autumn, repeatedly, year after year. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), SAD is not a unique mood disorder, but is "a specifier of major depression".
The US National Library of Medicine notes that "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. They may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up." The condition in the summer is often referred to as Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and can also include heightened anxiety. It has been estimated that 1.5-9% of adults in the US experience SAD.
There are many different treatments for classic (winter-based) seasonal affective disorder, including light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, antidepressant medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy, ionized-air administration, and carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin.
Symptoms of SAD may consist of: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, and especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. All of this leads to the depression, pessimism, and lack of pleasure which characterize a person suffering from this disorder.
People that experience Reverse SAD (spring and summer depression) show symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, weight loss, and a decreased sex drive. RSAD can also manifest depression, which makes it difficult to diagnose this rare affliction.
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder>
While I'm pretty sure I don't suffer from SAD (but I know people who do) - I was wondering what Fashion could do for the people that do. So, my mind began to wander as I was driving (don't be concerned about me driving while my mind is wandering - traffic during the Chicago morning 'rush' moves at a snails pace (hey, why on earth do "they" call that time of day a "Rush Hour" … it's certain that no one is actually rushing anywhere - (but - I digress)) and I began to look at the things around me - gray sky, gray cars, gray buildings, gray clothing and coats or the gray people.
From that - I began to wonder - do we in this Fashion industry actually have this seasonality thing all backward? Looking into the cars around me - everyone is in coats - guess what color … yep, gray (or black). If there is any time of year that we need some color in our lives - it has to be now.
A few years back when I was visiting Stockholm at this time of year - I went to a shopping mall. I walked past a large booth in the middle of the building - a booth filled with lights. I asked my colleague what it was for - he of course gave me a typical Swedish clinical explanation - but followed up by saying "I think you call it seasonal affective disorder". People could go into that booth to lose the 'winter blues'. But of course everyone in the booth was wearing gray and black (I've com to believe that those are the Swedish national colors (amazing when you consider the colorful Swedish flag).
So still my mind is wandering (I have a long commute when traffic is slow) - what if Fashion designers and merchandisers were to plan more color into winter collections? What would the impact be on SAD people? What would the possible impact be on all of us? Heck, major retail organizations have spent a lot of money to try and determine what color lighting - in what parts of the store give people a better feeling - and (thus) making them feel better about buying. We know that as human beings - we react to light and color - we know that it gives us a better feeling about life. Gray and dark only makes us feel gray and dark. Is it possible that we would all become more pleasant - and less stressed during this time of year?
(My apologies to my friends 'down under' - Please just put this aside - and revisit it in about 6 months.)
By the way - I will be attending (and speaking) at the Prime Source Forum in Hong Kong - March 29 - 31.
While everyone's travel budgets may have been cut back due to the economy - this is an event worth attending - even if I wasn't one of the speakers.
Sourcing - Today, tomorrow, next week Tuesday …
13th January 2010
In most of the "western world" the question of whether or not to Out Source production is moot. The resources are no longer available. Future generations will probably wonder why there is any discussion of Sourcing vs. Manufacturing for apparel … or will they?
I'm a pretty simple guy … I like simple definitions to things.
Every Thanksgiving my sister (the social worker) and I end up in the same conversational argument. I say "Shxx is shxx - and why can't we just say that? Why are we so hung up on finding euphemistic ways of saying the simplest of things?" And every year she responds with "That shxx laid in the ground - and became compressed over time. Now, it's called peat - and in Ireland and Scotland they burned it to heat their homes." What on earth does that have to do with Sourcing - well, I'm going to try to make that clear.
I look at Sourcing in a very binary way … You either source for strategic reasons for you source for opportunistic reasons.
When I went to work for a company in the mid-western part of the US (who shall remain nameless) - they were primarily a manufacturing company. They had some specialty products that were 'ordered' as 'full package' from Asia. Those items were completely controlled by the Merchandising Department - and - the only time that Operations was called in - was when something went wrong (stop me if this sounds familiar). The approach to working in Asia was simple - Merchandisers would go shopping - and the subsequent sourcing decisions were made for purely opportunistically reasons.
I went to "Wikipedia" for a definition of "Sourcing" - this is what I got …
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In business, the term word sourcing refers to a number of procurement practices, aimed at finding, evaluating and engaging suppliers of goods and services:
- Global sourcing, a procurement strategy aimed at exploiting global efficiencies in production
- Strategic sourcing, a component of supply chain management, for improving and re-evaluating purchasing activities
- Sourcing (personnel), the identification of job candidates through proactive recruiting technique
- Co-sourcing, a type of auditing service
- Low-cost country sourcing, a procurement strategy for acquiring materials from countries with lower labor and production costs in order to cut operating expenses
- Corporate sourcing, a supply chain, purchasing/procurement, and inventory function
- Second-tier sourcing, a practice of rewarding suppliers for attempting to achieve minority-owned business spending goals of their customer
- Netsourcing, a practice of utilizing an established group of businesses, individuals, or hardware & software applications to streamline or initiate procurement practices by tapping in to and working through a third party provider
- Inverted Sourcing, a price volatility reduction strategy usually conducted by procurement or supply-chain person by which the value of an organization's waste-stream is maximized by actively seeking out the highest price possible from a range of potential buyers exploiting price trends and other market factors
- Multisourcing, a strategy that treats a given function, such as IT, as a portfolio of activities, some of which should be outsourced and others of which should be performed by internal staff.
- Crowdsourcing, using an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call to perform a task
In journalism, it can also refer to:
- Journalism sourcing, the practice of identifying a person or publication that gives information
- Single sourcing, the reuse of content in publishing
In computing, it can refer to:
- Open-sourcing, the act of releasing previously proprietary software under an open source/free software license
- Power sourcing equipment, network devices that will provide power in a Power over Ethernet (PoE) setup
Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sourcing>
Oh my gosh - or - (have any of you seen the Chipmunks movie from a couple years ago -) "Holy Nuts …"
talk about an overly complicating a definition …
If you have followed any of my ramblings - you'll know that I think we work in an industry 'on wheels' … things change for any number of reasons - they change quickly - and they change often.
If you study the needs of what the industry 'today' calls "Fast Fashion" - you'll see that tight convenient supply chains are a requirement. Okay - then let's add in the need for sophisticated transportation - moving stuff from one side of the globe to the other for sale. Let’s then add in a healthy shake of rising oil prices - and "et viola" - - you have the need to change the rules for your sourcing decisions.
This is not - nor has it ever been a price only consideration … those who approach it this way - may see short term benefits - but are destined to long term failure. Sourcing is an art as well as a science - one must be strategic in their thinking and in their actions. Only when supported with good information - analytics - and logic - coupled with good information on 'what's really going on' - can a sourcing effort really succeed.