October 2012 management briefing: Broadening horizons for outsourcing suppliers
Emerging economies have traditionally been the focus for outsourcing opportunities. But the dynamics are beginning to change. This month’s management briefing looks at the trend for suppliers to develop their own design hubs, alternative markets for brands and retailers, and new competitors vying for business.
The growth in outsourcing has been the most important trend in the clothing and textile sector in the past decade, with emerging market countries offering increasingly reliable and sophisticated services. While the recession has put paid to a lot of talk about emerging market suppliers developing their own design hubs, the idea is still very much alive.
The BRIC countries are far from being the only emerging market suppliers for the global apparel sector - and a knot of competitors such as Bangladesh and Vietnam have long been vying for business. But there are also smaller players who are looking to grow.
Outsourcing textile and apparel production is a necessary step along the supply chain for many large international brands which, more often than not, have long-standing relationships with manufacturers abroad.
While the focus on emerging markets for the big international clothing companies has traditionally been to view them as outsourcing opportunities, there are a lot of people with a lot of money in these countries. So go-ahead Western brands are seeking to gain a presence in emerging markets, hoping to reap dividends as their economies grow.
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