The1998 Apparel and Footwear industry survey highlights the issues faced by an industry confronted by increasing demands for price-competitiveness, service and quality.

In terms of Business Strategy, each country surveyed – with the exception of Italy – places the highest premium on improving their price/quality ratio. There is a clear split between the UK and Germany on the one hand and France, Spain and Italy on the other when it comes to the emphasis placed on global sourcing and improving responsiveness, with UK and German suppliers placing a higher priority onsourcing. While this might be taken to represent contradictory strategies, they are two component parts of the integrated approach needed to satisfy the complex demands of consumers and retailers. The difference in emphasis may well be caused by the difference in retail patterns across Europe, which has recently seen major multiple forms of retail growing in importance in southern European countries.

As far as Efficient Consumer Response is concerned, the highest level of consensus across the countries surveyed was on the need for improved forecasting. All of the issues rated highly by suppliers relate to accuracy (forecasting,critical path management) and responsiveness (rapid response to sales inquiries, flexible manufacturing capability).

The highest level of consensus among respondents to the survey (at 77% – 98%) is on the question of the strategic importance of integrating coreIT systems. Clearly, the quality and speed of management information is a key success factor in achieving competitive performance as speed and efficiency become increasingly important.


The 1998 Apparel and Footwear Industries survey was carried out by mulitple research agencies co-ordinated by Benchmark Research on behalf of JBA.  This survey has been written in conjunction with Simon Shepheard-Walwyn of Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA), and Rob Jennings and Michael Pearl of JBA’s apparel, footwear business unit.