The upcoming 2021 Index Report from Better Buying will provide a first look at how brand and retailer purchasing practices have changed during the global pandemic – and offer pointers on the key areas that will need to be addressed as the garment industry rebuilds after Covid-19.

Better Buying has been collecting objective, independent data for five years. Its unique dataset – where suppliers anonymously rate the purchasing practices of their customers – is enabling a growing number of brands and retailers to track, and improve, their practices year on year. Its latest ratings cycle, which closed earlier this week, saw the highest number of supplier ratings submitted to date.

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The data also provides an opportunity to track year-over-year progress the industry is making on purchasing practices.

In Better Buying’s Garment Industry Scorecard for 2020, which covered the period immediately prior to the pandemic, the garment industry scored 2 out of 5 overall on purchasing practices.

The lowest scores were found in Sourcing and Order Placement (0 stars, and a score of 31/100), Planning and Forecasting (1.5 stars, or 58/100 and Payment and Terms, 2.5 stars, 66/100), all areas where poor practice on the part of global brands are known to impact negatively on suppliers and workers

The 2021 Scorecard will enable direct comparisons between this, the “Covid” data collection period, and previous years, and identify priority areas for companies to take action.

Will scores in key areas such as Payment and Terms, or Planning and Forecasting, reflect major setbacks in industry-wide practice for example? And are there some companies that have shown greater resilience because they were already some way down the road on their journey towards best purchasing practice?

“We did a lot of research and spent years building the Better Buying Purchasing Practices Index to capture detailed insights on the key practices suppliers have told us impact them and their workers,” comments Dr Marsha Dickson, president and co-founder of Better Buying Institute, comments. “Our proprietary scoring system allows comparison across companies, brands and regions and tracks company and industry-level improvements over time.

“Companies are already using the data internally and as our Index Report published in the Fall of 2020 shows, they are improving their practices. Starting with the Garment Sector Scorecard for 2021, we will be providing a composite snapshot of industry progress on the purchasing practices that impact suppliers and workers.”

The 2021 Better Buying Purchasing Practices Index Report is due out in October; while the Garment Sector Scorecard for 2021 will be released in the summer.