Hansae using globalisation to tread a new path for growth

Daymond Kim, Hansae Vice-Chairman answers just-style's questions

Hansae

How important has globalization become to Hansae?

Globalization is the very heart of Hansae. The name ‘Hansae’ itself implies our vision, which is ‘from Korea to the world’. From such basis, Hansae has been dealing with global partners for a long time, mostly in US until recently. Now, we are taking one step further to reach Europe as well.

How have you had to adapt your supply chain to take account of the company’s growth?

Starting from our early history, we have been expanding global footprint in manufacture. We have the biggest facilities in Vietnam, as well as others in Central America such as Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti. All of them have been critical to maintain our capacity not to mention the cost-competitiveness. Even today, we are continuously looking for new opportunities. As a part of it, we are building a new factory in Myanmar.

Can you talk about how you choose and build relationships with your suppliers?

Our philosophy deems buyers, workers and suppliers as ‘Family’. We believe, all participants involved in the apparel supply chain cannot survive alone. From that perspective, we take ‘responsibility’ as the key factor of choosing suppliers, hoping to yield a great deal of ‘synergy’ with Hansae.

What investments have you made in technology in order to help facilitate Hansae’s growth internationally?

On top of our global foot print in facilities covering Asia and Central America, we have been investing in various technological tools to cope with global trend of ‘digitalization’. HAMS, or Hansae Advanced Manufacturing System, includes real-time basis quality monitoring by QCS, scale of efficiency measured by SMV, and wholistic monitoring system connecting manufacture and HQ with BI Tools. Owing to a few years of investment, those systems are now aligned and expected to boost our capability to a next level.

What challenges have you come up against while growing the business internationally?

One of the challenges we encountered was market’s volatility. Change in global trade environment was significant to us, as we have a fleet of facilities spreading in many countries. However, what we found is that such distancing of facilities can also yield unexpected benefit like better trading conditions.

And what opportunities do you see for the future?

Gladly enough, we expect our new facility in Myanmar will deliver us a new opportunities. Myanmar has an exceptional trade relationship with Japan and Europe. From that basis, we believe Hansae will expand our business to these 2 ‘new’ markets.

Daymond Kim, Hansae Vice-Chairman

What lessons can the apparel industry learn from the Covid-19 outbreak?

Ironically, this unprecented crisis taught us the old wisdom. One is the importance of financial solvency. The shock was for all but those who survived were the ones with sound structures. In fact, we found our connection with buyers became stronger as we strive to overcome this crisis together. Another is sustainability. For the first time, the end consumers actually felt how far their ‘clothing’ came from. From that experience, sustainability is now became an global phenomenon.

Will it reverse the tide on globalization? Are local and regionalized supply chains likely to gain more of a foothold in the future?

No, globalization cannot be rolled back or separated to regionalization. What we believe is that digital, not physical, connection to overseas branches, facilities and markets will become more critical. Thus, more advanced management and communication tools are required to adapt this time of crisis. In this perspective, Hansae is putting more energy to successfully implement what we have been developing.

What's your vision for the global apparel supply chains once the coronavirus has passed?

In fact, we see this as a new opportunity to change the old way. Hansae will focus more on regional autonomy by empowering local employees and strengthening our internal communication network. Fortunately, such ‘untact’ and digitalized way has been expected to come eventually, for which Hansae had been prepared. Now we are witnessing the new way is paved, and Hansae will tread another streak on it.

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