FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF’s DESK…
What the buyer wants is of utmost importance in the garment business. More so as fashion is changing so fast that sometimes it becomes difficult to put the product on the shelves, before the trend goes out of vogue!
The buying offices of international retailers/brands have over the years mastered the art of ‘sourcing’, developing over the time from being merely post offices for the international clients to being partners in exploring new concepts, developing vendors, grooming suppliers and suggesting business strategies that are country-specific.
Yet, challenges always remain and constant training is underway to keep pace with new requirements in product, factory compliances and the whole process of sourcing.
When I look at the domestic manufacturing scenario, I can see a gap in the sourcing side. I am not undermining the current sourcing offices or the work they are doing to develop a strong vendor base for domestic retail…, but the reality is that there is still a long way to go to be able to work on similar lines that the international buying offices and even the buying agents work in.
So many sourcing professionals from top buying offices have been roped in to work with top Indian retailers like Reliance, Future Group, Aditya Birla Retail to name a few, but the middle and small brands and retailers are struggling to find the right formula.
This cross pollination between international sourcing and domestic sourcing is a good way to upgrade and develop sourcing strategies for domestic retail, but the country-specific requirements and regional preferences must also be taken into consideration.
Many of the exporters like to work with retailers/brands where professionals have been brought in from the export scenario. They believe that the fitment will be more fruitful. Yet, in many cases, the result is not on expected lines.
This is mostly because the requirements of domestic sourcing are different and it is important to bring in benchmark practices, but with the needed ‘twist’. The faster we are able to achieve this goal, the quicker the domestic market will be able to develop to a level that can truly be called global.
The issues in domestic sourcing are many…, and not necessarily related to domestic brands. Even international brands selling in India have challenges of sourcing. So obviously it is not about ‘who’ the retailer/brand or the final procurement agency is, but ‘how’ the sourcing practices are compatible to local requirements.
Just recently, the Prime Minister had shown concern on sourcing practices, specially at the restrictive and discriminatory clauses being imposed against domestic manufacturers and suppliers in tender documents for public procurement.
The Government of India has made it very clear that it is committed to ensuring that both quality and price considerations are not compromised, but this should not lead to imposing conditions that result in unreasonable exclusion of domestic suppliers.