Blog: Michelle RussellNew re:source to help unravel sourcing decisions

Michelle Russell | 19 December 2016

Apparel sourcing is a complex process built on a mix of location, logistics, lead-time, price, compliance, risk and reliability. And it's in a constant state of flux as retailers, brands and manufacturers try to find the right balance across all these factors.

In order to help ease and speed decision-making, just-style is developing a new apparel sourcing planning tool - re:source - for which it has just opened the testing programme.

Created to help apparel companies save time, reduce cost and understand supply chain risk, just-style is seeking a limited number of people to help test re:source prior to its launch in 2017.

A key component of the product will be a trade agreements and tariffs database that dissects complex apparel trade agreement rules and schedules.

The tool will also include trade data, providing detailed data on import and export values, volumes and average prices by country and region across a range of product categories.

Applications to join the testing program are now being accepted, and those involved in the apparel sourcing process, both buyers and suppliers, can apply now.

just-style has also taken a look back over 2016 at who the winners and losers were in the global sourcing, retail, production, and sustainability space. Some highlights include a biodegradable sports shoe made from spider silk protein fibres, the constant of logistics upsets and labour issues, and Madagascar drawing attention as an attractive sourcing hub for private label production.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's clothing and textile industry has been assessing the impact of losing a huge anticipated garment export boost under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now that US president-elect Donald Trump has promised to sign an executive order pulling out of the 12-nation trade deal.

The country's garment exports would have eventually earned duty-free treatment in the US under the deal, compared to a current average of 11% and a high of up to 32% for some categories. However, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasised that, with or without the TPP deal, Vietnam remains committed to further opening up its economy to the world.

The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) also maintains that the country's apparel exports in 2016 are expected to hit its target of US$29bn, although manufacturers are being urged to look at ways to offset competition and rising costs if this figure is to be surpassed next year.

And, despite the size of its supply base, its range of skills and quality levels, China's apparel industry is repositioning for the future - including a focus on building its own brands, investing overseas, and moving up the value chain.

Speaking at this year's Sri Lanka Design Festival, Ben Cavender, principal at China Market Research Group (CMR), highlighted five strategic moves China's apparel industry is making in order to position itself for future success.

In Cambodia, the country's garment manufacturers association has partnered with testing and inspection services provider TÜV SÜD to offer members workshops and awareness programmes relating to international quality and safety standards.

While, France is also urging companies to take greater responsibility for the working conditions and environmental risks in their global supply chains through the adoption of a new draft law. It requires French companies employing more than 5,000 to implement a vigilance or due diligence plan to identify risks to human rights and the environment as a result of their activities, and those of their subsidiaries and suppliers.

In the UK, retailer JD Sports was forced to answer claims by a Channel Four television investigation it is employing warehouse staff in conditions "worse than a prison," and that it operates a "three strikes and you're sacked" policy.

And, a report published by the World Trade Organization (WTO) points out that the benefits of global trade need to be more widely spread and better understood. It highlights the introduction of a "worryingly high" number of new trade-restrictive measures amid continuing global economic uncertainty.

In other news, Adidas has pulled ahead on speed and innovation; the Accord severs ties with another seven ready-made garment suppliers; Wrangler sets a goal to reduce water usage at its facilities by 20% by 2020; Under Armour develops a smart running shoe line; and H&M joins a polyester ocean waste research project.

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