It's that time of the year again. The beginning of a new season, proto sampling deadlines, endless coordination with fabric suppliers and garment vendors to stick to the dates to make sure the samples reach in time for the 'oh so important meeting', and above all costings, costings, costings..If you are a merchandiser in the apparel arena, you can relate to the above.

A period of crazily hectic activity, and pressures mounting from all sides...buyers, suppliers, bosses...But there is some excitement in all this mayhem. The thrill of working on new styles, designs, fabrics... the excitement and anticipation of booking new orders... the fun in negotiation and haggling for best prices...Ask any merchant on what they like most about their jobs. And they will tell you it's these aspects which give them an adrenalin rush in their jobs... Otherwise life would be pretty mundane.

Given the crazy workload that hits a merchant at this time, it is little wonder that some details, often with important implications, get overlooked. If you had more than 100-150 cost sheets to populate, prepare and quote prices on, being a supplier's err in some costings would be human indeed. But wait a minute... let's just understand the implications before brushing it aside as a simple as that scenario. I came across a cost sheet in my career as a merchant, where instead of typing $0.59 for a certain leather patch in the garment, the supplier merchant had typed $0.059. Price was sealed and order was confirmed for 25,000 pcs for a pant. It's only later that I noticed this error. Now imagine the amount of money left on the table ... 13,275! Wow, I could do the Europe holiday that I often dream of in that kind of money!! It's just criminal to me, irrespective of which side you are on, supplier or buyer, to leave that kind of money lost in human errors, and there are countless such instances which remain unnoticed... lost forever.

The key to eliminate or at least reduce these kinds of errors during costings is to 'become a marwari'. Now that you have become a marwari, who is quoting price for your own business, every cent will count to you! Now costing will take a totally different dimension, and there is no room for any errors... its your money at stake!

Micro Detailing is crucial in preparing cost sheets. At times all the items are not listed on the bill of material provided by the buyer, but you are going to need them eventually in making the garments. Examples are packing trims, interlinings, buttons, threads etc. So it's important to not only include the items on the BOM of a tech pack, but also include all the items that will go on the garment.

Protect your cost sheet in every way. You dont want to base your final price on a fabric consumption only to find out during production that you ended up ordering more fabric than was estimated at costing stage. Its your money being lost.

Fabric is the biggest component of any garment costing. Make sure you take accurate yields based on ratio markers, make sure you take formal commitments from fabric suppliers while taking price quotes, regarding finished width of fabric, shrinkages, defect percentages etc. This is important because later on it will be possible for you to hold them accountable to cover for your losses, in case the fabric shrinkages exceeded the expectations and you ended up ordering extra fabric, or if more than expected fabric got wasted due to defects etc. So often due to time constraints, merchants end up taking fabric price quotes on phone, rather than through a proper professional quotation sheet from fabric supplier. Now if you were a Marwari running your own business, you will not do that, and will take care to have a proper record in place for all raw material prices, before quoting the final price for the garment to the buyers.