A balanced apparel sourcing strategy

By Malcolm Newbery | 10 September 2018
A balanced scorecard approach is key to helping supply chain managers make the best decisions around where in the world their garments are made, based on at least 10 factors ranging from cost to speed to market. Here, industry consultant Malcolm Newbery offers advice on how to achieve a balanced sourcing strategy

Supply chain managers know where most garments are manufactured; in low cost countries such as China, South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent. But how do they know what garments are best sourced from where? This is a mix of a matrix of work content (the number of sewing minutes of the garment), and the complexity of the construction. To resolve solution this, the solution is to use the “balanced scorecard” technique. This is a set of factors affecting sourcing decisions. In this best practice article, I have used eight factors


  1. Reliability
  2. Flexibility
  3. Quality
  4. Rectification
  5. Raw material choice
  6. Raw material availability
  7. Distribution sophistication
  8. Transport time


And matched them against four sourcing decision subjects, namely


  1. The business strategy and effect on the consumer of where the garment was made
  2. The total sourcing costs
  3. Infrastructure considerations
  4. Attitudes of the work force (work ethic and quality) the government (social and political stability, not to mention corruption), and other macro-economic factors


This creates a sourcing desirability map, measuring different source countries numerically. It is the start point for individual and specific sourcing searches. But to it must be added non cost factors such as


  • Extra manufacturing skills
  • Post production costs


in order to make an informed sourcing decision


Download the full article [pdf] or go to Just-Style.com


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