Blog: Michelle RussellBangladesh Alliance and Accord update on progress

Michelle Russell | 28 July 2014

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, and the Accord on Fire and Building Safety have both issued their first annual reports, providing an update on the work carried out on improving safety and working conditions in the country to date.

On a briefing to mark the first anniversary of the Alliance, an advisor to the group told just-style that preliminary estimates suggest the 26 member companies "are actually sourcing more product from Bangladesh than last year at this time". Progress, however, is "far from over", with the total cost likely to be in the region of $150m and take 12-18 another months to complete.

Accord members also talked costs, with the group calling on retailers and clothing brands to contribute more to the fund in order to complete factory inspections.

According to industry experts speaking at a technology event in London this month, it's one thing to invest in a product lifecycle management (PLM) system - but another altogether to get the most value out of the solution. PLM projects should be driven from a business perspective if they are to deliver real gains in terms of revenue, margin improvement and inventory efficiency - with users on board from the beginning, speakers told delegates.

Elsewhere, new strategies for sporting giant Nike and underwear maker Hanesbrands have clearly been paying off.

Nike is raising its prices at a time when other companies are turning to increased markdowns and heavy promotional activity to drive traffic. Analysts say the strategy is single-handedly driving growth in the US sneaker market, as well as helping the company to carve out a new competitive advantage.

Hanesbrands last week praised the efficiency of its supply chain, describing it as "a clear contributor" to earnings, helping the underwear maker outperform in its second-quarter. Ensuring a more low-cost supply chain is part of the group's Innovate-to-Elevate strategy.

In the UK, Tesco has had a less rosy time of late in its domestic market, but the news its CEO Philip Clarke is to step down lifted its share price with analysts optimistic incoming Unilever executive Dave Lewis may have what it takes to turn the group's fortunes around. Analysts are sure one of Tesco's more exportable offers - clothing - will be a central focus when he takes up his position.

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