Interview with Mr Steve Jesseph

Face2Face
Mr Steve Jesseph
Mr Steve Jesseph
President and CEO
WRAP
WRAP

Are there any areas of difficulties that present industry makers face regarding compliances and regulations’ documentations and casualties?

Many brands and retailers have established their own codes of conduct with often conflicting standards. As a result, factories spend a great deal of wasted time trying to satisfy these conflicting demands. The WRAP program was designed to create a rigorous yet achievable standard for all factories worldwide. Thanks to increasing acceptance of brands and retailers for the WRAP standard and certification, the number of audits is being reduced and compliance costs are starting to go down.

What goes different in interest of a company when it becomes WRAP certified?

WRAP employs a management systems approach to compliance, and requires that all policies and procedures be in writing with staff assigned and an internal audit mechanism put in place. Taking this approach allows the factory owners to determine their own level of compliance on an ongoing basis, and transfer the management systems approach to other areas of the business such as quality, human resources, production planning and more.

As noted above, WRAP certification is accepted by an increasing number of brands and retailers helping to reduce the number of social compliance audits, thus reducing allocated manpower and cost.

Labor Markets and Offshoring- how would you relate them; as a prospect or a consequence?

Brands and retailers across the world have sought lower labor costs for over the past decade by moving production from the US, EU, Japan and Australia to various parts of Asia, Latin America and Africa. It seems that wages are starting to equalize and other factors such as the cost of transport of raw materials and finished product, lead times, order quantities, delivery time, availability of water and energy, and other factors are beginning to drive sourcing decisions as much or more than labor costs.

Productivity and Competitiveness; is it possible to link these aspects to increased operational costs for CSR and sustainable business solutions, especially from manufacturer’s point of view?

Taken in context, the cost of CSR compliance is negligible versus cost of operations. The average cost for a WRAP certification process is less than $US5,000. Managed properly, sustainability solutions should drive significant bottom line savings in energy, transport, waste reduction, etc. Lean Manufacturing techniques, as taught by the large consultancy TC2, have shown this for years.

Ultimately, what matters for every business house is- improving the bottom-line. So, do 'ethical production' associate itself to 'profitability'?

A very large, multinational apparel company recently did a correlation study looking at their most reliable suppliers and those that had the highest levels of compliance with their CSR program – and found a direct correlation between the two. Factory management that focuses on excellence in all they do i.e. quality, delivery and compliance, also have the highest levels of social compliance. They also view the “cost” of training, quality management systems, health & safety, environmental management and good employee relations programs as an investment that provides positive returns in all parts of the business.

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Published on: 20/09/2010

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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