In today’s time, businesses are juggling with the sourcing strategy to target their destination markets. Apparel sourcing world is changing every day and night with changing trade structures and tax regulations of the countries. And that’s why it’s important to know how to make your strategy work.
Sourcing is a subsection of procurement that deals with locating an organization’s good and services in the right market. Apparel sourcing is crossing the borders to find the right destinations for their products across the globe.
Apparel brands and retailers are prioritizing sourcing to get more exposure for their products and making the maximum of their profits. They are choosing sourcing destinations considering the following:
- Raw-material prices
- Trade regulations
- Advance technologies
- Market values
- Shipping time
Apparel merchandiser needs to identify an optimum mix between the cost they are investing and the quality they are expecting. And the other factors affecting these two major factors are labor wages, manufacturing cost, logistics cost, and INCO term negotiation for international sourcing. But that’s not enough, to make your sourcing successful- you need a proper strategy to do it right.
Below-listed is 9 steps to boost your business with the right sourcing strategy.
1. Analyze the need of sourcing
Do you know why you need sourcing? And what difference sourcing can make to your business?
No matter what business you are into and what’s your business size. To understand what sourcing means to your business, you need to analyze the need for sourcing.
Identify the need for sourcing. Ask as many questions you can ask your team to your customers. Know and understand your current business scenario. Set your current situation as a benchmark and analyze the need for sourcing in your business.
2. Conduct market research
Once you’ve identified why your business needs sourcing. Research the market, gather as much information you can about your market and the ones you are planning to enter.
Collect information across the countries and compare them to check the most favorable markets for your products and services.
Comparing the apparel market across the globe is a complex exercise that brings clarity to business. This will help you to know the potential markets for your goods and how your business can perform there.
3. Evaluate the supplier’s market
Be careful while choosing a supplier. Often, organizations end up paying for a supplier’s inability. That’s why any apparel business needs to evaluate suppliers based on their previous performance.
Before you finalize with any supplier, consider their financial statements, credit reports, and references. Understand supplier’s working pattern and how well they can match with yours.
Ask suppliers as many questions as you can to get better clarity. Talk to them about their overall experience and in your field, visit their sites, and talk to their customers.
Do every possible thing you can to gather as much information as you can to know your future suppliers better. The better you know the suppliers, the better results you will get.
4. Amass Suppliers’ information
Another essential is collecting supplier’s information before you start working with them. Many apparel companies face a big problem in maintaining a suppliers’ list with the following information:
• Contact information
• Geographies potential
• Product information
• Performance data
Maintain all possible information about the suppliers you are working with- personal and professionals. And keep updating the information with time to track the performance and build consistency.
5. Formulate a sourcing strategy
Time to make a sure-fire plan to hit your sourcing goals. You need to know where to source your organization's goods and how?
Draft a sourcing strategy considering your company’s goal and supplier’s potential. Consider the market you are targeting for your product and services. Look around the ways to maximize your sourcing efforts and include everything in your strategy.
Analyze the internal and external factors while formulating the sourcing strategy.
- Supplier’ Flexibility
- Supplier’s location
- Market player’s performance
Other factors to consider:
- Requirements for the suppliers
- Standardize operations
Supplier- relationship management
Formulate an unbeatable strategy to reduce the risk and maximize the results. And entre the market with confidence.
6. Negotiate with suppliers
Now you've got a plan in hand and supplier to work on it. Before you give any go-ahead to suppliers, sit with them to discuss the strategy and negotiate to get the best deal out of it.
For many apparel businesses, negotiation is a crucial step to do, but equally important to create maximum value in minimal budget. Discuss your organization’s vision and educate them well about your product.
Other important factors to discuss are:
- Pricing structure
- Scope of work
- Time of delivery
- Teams and conditions
Negotiate with the strategy you formulated as if this is the only plan you are left with. But keep your plan B ready!
7. Enforce the sourcing strategy
Time to hit the market with your sourcing strategy. Give a go-ahead to the suppliers and develop a communication plan and a system to measure and evaluate their performance.
In the beginning, communication is must to keep an ear on what’s going on the other side. Especially, when you are working with new suppliers.
There may come a time when you need to switch suppliers due to any mishaps between you and suppliers. In that case, transition plans are vital to keep the sourcing strategy on track. The transfer of information from a supplier to another may take some time, training, and even specific physical assets. You must be prepared and patient.
Establish strong links of communication with suppliers and keep them well- informed.
(Read more on: Role of Sourcing Decisions in an Apparel Firm)
8. Monitor the sourcing plan
Track the performance of your suppliers and monitor the results. Check how your suppliers are doing on the field? What challenges they are facing? How they are fixing the problems?
Know the strength and weakness of your products and suppliers. So, that you can work on it for next time.
Check the progress on:
- Timely delivery
- Process suppliers are following
- Problem suppliers are facing
- Specifications of your product
List up the strategical points that worked for you and what didn’t. Analyze the result of your sourcing strategy and work to make it better.
9. Modernize the strategy
Now you know how performed with your sourcing strategy. You know the boom-doom areas.
Next thing you need to do is to modernize your sourcing strategy. While revamping your strategy, consider the following factors:
- Market demand
- Customer response
- The lead times
- Hidden costs
Add more power to your strong areas and strength to your weak hands.
Modernize your sourcing strategy with better plans, advanced technologies, enhanced knowledge, and improved quality.
Do it right
These steps will lead your apparel business to a better sourcing destination. Right sourcing can place your organization well among your competitors. After all, you invest team, time, and dollars into it. You must do it right!
You might find it a little difficult at times.
TexPro can make sourcing way easier for apparel businesses by assisting with qualitative data research.