As the Indian textile industry expands, the relationship between the buyer and the vendor in the Indian apparel export sector is undergoing a gradual metamorphosis. The once professional relationship is fast changing into a partnership. Earlier, it was the buyer who usually dictated the terms, but now both the buyer and the vendor are on an almost equal footing. This change has occurred on account of the rising competition and the rising supremacy of the customer. Both the players now recognize the importance of the other in their own growth.

How is this metamorphosis taking place?

More and more buyers are trying to provide assistance to the vendor in the production process. In most of the cases, this assistance is in the form of production process support. Today, vendors are also looking to buyers to help them in collecting market information. Some buyers also provide information to the vendor as to how their products are being liked and bought by the customers. This helps the vendor in knowing customer preferences and in making the necessary changes in the product. Sometimes, the buyers also help the vendors in procuring the necessary raw material for the production of the final product.

At the same time, the buyers are actively taking interest in the process of production and in how the cost of production is constituted.

Initially, quality checks were undertaken only after the order was fully processed or after most of the processing was done. Buyers and vendors are now realizing the fact that this leads to wastage of resources and time. In order to avoid delays in shipping, buyers are now allocating quality control officials to the vendors to monitor the quality of the product at the same time as it is being produced. This ensures that the product of the required quality is produced with minimal wastage of resources and that any delay is avoided proactively. By cutting down unnecessary wastage, this step ensures that the cost of production remains under control. Any problems in the production of the product can be detected at an early stage and resolved.

Customers all over the world are becoming more informed and thus, more aware and choosy. They are now more selective in terms of price and quality. It is necessary for the buyer to provide products of the best quality at the required time and at a competitive price, in order to retain customers. Hence the buyers and vendors find it easier and in their best interests to work closely with each other. In this way, the vendor can be better informed about what the actual preferences of the ultimate customer are.

This change in relationship also ensures that the buyer is able to deliver goods of the desired quality at a reasonable price to the customer at the proper time. The vendors have realized their dependence on the buyers for their own sustained growth. Thus, close ties between the buyer and the vendor have become imperative.

The level of transparency and co-operation in the buyer-vendor relationship is on the rise. Both parties no longer hesitate to share important information, as surviving the tough competition has become a joint effort. The focus has now shifted to greater communication, trust and working together towards a common goal.

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