In the current difficult scenario, the entire supply chain associated with apparel exports is under pressure. Being a buyer representative or buying house, what steps are you taking to cope up with this situation? So far, how much growth or downfall have you witnessed in the current fiscal? What are the changes in sourcing strategy that you brought in to maintain your business?
Prem Khemlani, Marketing Manager, GM Industries Ltd., Hong Kong
We are exploring new sourcing as well as selling destinations. Currently, we are sourcing from China and our main products are jeans, tees and blouses. Our main markets are Middle East and South America (importers). Till now we were not sourcing from India, but from last one month, I am in Bangalore and visited Bellary (Karnataka) and Tirupur. We are getting support from China-based small-scale factories that even do 400 pieces per style in 4 colours while earlier their MOQs were 1,000 pieces. Even in smaller orders, their prices are very competitive.
This is one of the reasons that we are sustaining but despite that to do something new, to add value I came to India and am exploring options. If we can source more and different products, we can sell more. Similarly, new customer base (clients) are also in process as in next few months I will be visiting the US.
Sarabjit Singh, Manager, Siba International, Denmark
One should have a long-term thinking, as ups and downs are a regular part of business. Along with that, new ideas, new developments are the focus to overcome current challenges. Our designers are now more aggressively working on products, adding value to the existing products. They are more innovative now. Besides, the price issue will always remain anywhere and everywhere, be it in India or China. I have noticed that in some product categories, Indian prices are not high when compared to China… We are trying to find more such products to improve overall sourcing.
Jag Mohan Sharma, Sourcing Manager, Buffalo David Bitton, Canada
We are already sourcing from well established companies of China, Bangladesh and India that are following compliance completely and working with proper systems, so we have less issues on sourcing side.
And to remain competitive, we constantly work on sourcing front, developing vendors, exploring new factories that are having any kind of special or different product. We travel a lot for this.
Meanwhile, in our core markets – the Canada and the US – the economy is good. In fact Canada is positive and growing, especially compared to last year. The Canadian Government is also increasing its rate of interest as they don’t want that the things should go very fast, but rather remain in control. On the other hand, in US, things are a little bit shaky after the current developments in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other such incidents. But overall growth is going on.
SS Bhatnagar, Chairman, Sakshay International, Delhi
We are now very much careful about all these things that make up sourcing, as we are connected with good overseas companies and they are our old clients. They often say that costing is more, and so we do a lot of exercise with local suppliers to bring down the cost, but all with buyers’ permission. Whenever someone is trying to bring down the cost, there are enough chances to have its ‘undesirable’ impact, be it quality of the products or allied aspects, like fabric’s weight, GSM, count etc. We make sure to maintain product quality, without impacting the look or feel of the product as directed by the buyers, besides reducing its cost. It is developed as a mutual understanding and proper support to each other. Secondly, our whole team is now involved and is focusing more on such products that are in demand from various countries and which till now were not being supplied by us. Before the buyer asks us for any product, we should be able to send him samples of the same.
Rajesh Singh Negi, Sourcing Solutions India, New Delhi
I think business is always there for those who wish to work. We are mainly into hard goods, but now apparel is a growing segment for us and we are adding vendors for the same. It is just due to our sincere efforts and hard work. To become competitive, we explore several vendors and work a lot on pricing. Yes, there are some policy glitches; like despite being world’s largest yarn producer, we are expensive on the garment side. But rather than criticising on the same, we have to find solutions at our own level. It’s all about how you make room for yourself.
Sanjeev Jain, President & CEO, TQM Global Buying, Noida
Not only today, the market has always been tight and has never been easy for anyone. Our business is mainly with South Africa apart from few other countries. In South Africa, since we are supplying mainly to the ‘discount stores’, we have to maintain tight prices. Business is not a problem even today, but one has to be competitive enough. Fortunately, we have been able to find such factories which fit into our price slot. As I have enough experience
at all the levels, we guide our vendors on how to bring their cost down and to improve.
Just two years back, our 80 per cent sourcing (or US $ 4 million) was from small players of Bangladesh, but slowly we shifted our sourcing base to India. Earlier we never used to get price in India, but now we are getting such prices, as we trained our Indian suppliers. These vendors are still in profit despite having less costing. They have reduced their wastages, overheads, and commissions, and increased the use of technology.
Vishal Singh, CEO, Ishu Impex, Mumbai
Being a buying house, we have increased our overall movement – be it having more meetings with the buyers, or attending more and more sourcing fairs, or exploring some such platforms. Earlier we were hardly going to any event but now we are attending such fairs in India as well as in overseas. But these efforts are not enough and I don’t see that things will improve, at least in the next one or two years as things across India and the globe are continuously becoming more and more challenging. To get more business, we are now meeting new buyers, which again is challenging.
Deepak Agarwal, Founder, Naman Merchandising Services, Chennai
Market is not very conducive and not at all easy to manage. India has all the potential and resources in hand but is not able to manage due to global challenges. I feel that policy matter is more important here than any other thing. Apart from that, the only way forward is to find out new markets to sell which are today fragmented and are at different locations. We need to evolve ourselves in different ways, be it in the form of being technology-centric or having sustainable model of working. All in all, we need to develop an eco-system where all stakeholders should be involved. Knowledge sharing needs to be promoted.