Over the years of the growth of merchandising as a discipline in the export industry, there have been many changes in the job profile of the merchandiser. It has changes from a simple to a much more complex job transcending almost all departments and functions in an export house. This has led to a change in the skills required for the job and evolution of the discipline of export merchandising.
Merchandising has been to a large extent a function which was never clearly defined not distinctly performed in the Indian Apparel export industry of old. On one hand the merchandiser had the job of getting orders and had to execute them; donning the role of production coordinator in the same breath, whilst for others the job was only follow up of the confirmed orders.
The merchandisers had often been used as glorified clerks with the job focusing on passing the information received from one source to another without any 'value addition' to it.
In the burgeoning market of apparel exports 80's, Merchandising function was often assigned to fresh graduated of any discipline who were capable of responding to the queries of the customers in the English language. No other qualification was largely sought from them as the work was primarily decentralized and the merchants needed little technical knowledge. But the dependency on the technicians was inevitable.
About the Author
The author is Associate Professor, Centre Coordinator, Department of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Chennai.
Diploma project of Namit Nigam and Vineet Kumar Choubey; Sem IV students- NIFT, Chennai 2004 under the guidance of the Author.