Focus on Africa: The Dark Continent Brings New Light for Global Sourcing

Posted by Mollie Leon on Mon, Mar, 13 2017 @ 8:50 AM

In recent years, the apparel and footwear industry has shifted its global sourcing away from China to other emerging markets due to increased labor, transportation, tariffs, and other supply chain costs.

Africa has emerged as a particularly attractive manufacturing option because of the preferential treatment granted under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides duty-free access to the U.S. market for eligible countries.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Production Management

Webinar Recap: Vera Bradley Shares Its Amber Road Experience

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Dec, 5 2016 @ 9:42 AM

A few weeks ago, we held a lively webinar with Megan Coale from Vera Bradley and Cheryl Layne from our customer success team.  We talked about the implementation of Amber Road’s solutions used by the teams at Vera Bradley to produce their iconic products.  Vera Bradley is a manufacturer of stylish quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories. With small-town roots in Indiana, the brand has grown to $500 million in annual sales, serving customers all around the globe.  Known for its distinctive and colorful fabrics and trims, some of the core company values that originated at Vera Bradley’s birth 20 years ago still exist – high quality products, produced by suppliers in a timely fashion, and of course, those recognizable, trend-setting fabrics.  These are the expectations of customers today, and Vera Bradley has it in the bag.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Sample & Costing Management

Testing Tinkertoys, Tonka Trucks, Teddy Bears, and Toy Chests: New ASTM Criteria Unifies Global Standards

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Nov, 7 2016 @ 8:50 AM

Toy sales in the United States have shown robust growth figures in the last decade. Much of it is spurred by syndicated toy products from movies released to coincide with the Christmas season, drawing kids to add them to Santa’s list. According to The NPD Group, US toy sales increased 6.7 percent to $19.4 billion in 2015, topping the firm's estimate of 6.2 percent growth.

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Topics: Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Quality Control Inspection

Quality is Stitched into the Supply Chain: A Vera Bradley Case Study

Posted by Colleen Bush on Mon, Oct, 31 2016 @ 2:46 PM

Vera Bradley is a leading designer of women's handbags, luggage and travel items, fashion and home accessories and unique gifts. Founded in 1982, the brand's innovative designs, iconic patterns and brilliant colors inspire and connect women unlike any other brand in the global marketplace. To ensure high quality products that continue to exceed customers' expectations, Vera Bradley leverages Amber Road’s Supply Chain Collaboration solutions.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supply Chain Visibility, Product Testing, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management, Sample & Costing Management

Forced Labor: Passé or Probable?

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Fri, Oct, 21 2016 @ 9:30 AM

Ask any social compliance or corporate governance executive about forced or slave labor and the response is always the same: “It is unacceptable in my supply chain.”  Yet the reality is most supply chains lack the transparency to identify and take action against suppliers who violate this policy. Even with increased regulations and growing pressure from consumers and NGOs, industries struggle to maintain compliance

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Topics: Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility, Supplier Compliance Questionnaires, Global Supply Chain, Supply Chain Risk Management, Production Management

How to Unlock Value from Interconnecting Product Lifecycle Management and Supply Chain Teams

Posted by Colleen Bush on Thu, Oct, 13 2016 @ 1:19 PM

Despite the increasing number of unexpected supply chain vulnerabilities and disruptions, many companies are failing to address these challenges. With many brand organizations and retailers relying on outsourced manufacturing, these complexities have become more evident, and in many cases, hinder companies’ ability to build quality products quickly and deliver them to their consumer base efficiently. So how do you overcome these complexities? The answer lies in interconnecting product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain teams.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Production Management, Production Tracking

Video Series Chapter 2: Supply Chain Collaboration Solutions

Posted by Ryan Gudovitz on Wed, Aug, 24 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Continued from Chapter 1: The Challenges of Global Trade

Companies that rely heavily on manually intensive processes struggle to get their products from concept to creation in an efficient manner. With multiple product lines and changing consumer demands, the sourcing and production phases within the product lifecycle require close collaboration between companies and their buyers and suppliers. A lack of communication can lead to bottlenecks and increased costs. It’s imperative for companies to find a way to effectively collaborate with their suppliers to ensure success.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Production Management, Production Tracking, Product Management

Webinar: Dick’s Sporting Goods Goes to the Source

Posted by Kelsey Barker on Mon, Jul, 11 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Organizations that successfully align with their key suppliers enjoy reduced risk factors and improved innovation, quality, reliability, supplier visibility, and cost reductions. Both sides of the business can achieve greater value, which is difficult to achieve if operating independently.

Amber Road customer Dick’s Sporting Goods has adopted new technology to automate and simplify the supplier relationship management process, making it easy for sourcing executives to make quick, informed decisions about their suppliers.

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Topics: Retail, Apparel, Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Supplier Solicitation Campaigns, Production Management, Product Management

Going to the Source:  Supplier Relationship (Micro-) Management

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Fri, Jun, 17 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Across the world, sourcing, supply chain, and global trade executives are under intense pressure to streamline their processes in order to stay ahead of the competition and keep their companies in the black. But let’s face it — it’s not easy in this environment: light-speed business, stringent compliance regulations, and consumer demand for more agility than a squirrel on a bird feeder.

Studies show the top organizations that have successfully aligned with their key suppliers have reduced risk factors and improved innovation, quality, reliability, and costs/price reductions. Both sides of the business can achieve greater value, which is difficult to achieve if operating independently.

Amber Road customer Dick’s Sporting Goods has adopted new technology to automate and simplify the SRM process, making it easy for sourcing executives to make quick, informed decisions about their suppliers.

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Topics: Retail, Apparel, Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility, Supply Chain Risk Management, Risk and Quality Management, Production Management

Driving Apparel and Footwear Innovation: Top 5 Takeaways from the AAFA Sourcing Conference

Posted by Kelsey Barker on Thu, Apr, 21 2016 @ 6:11 PM

This year’s Sourcing, Customs and Logistics Conference, hosted in New Orleans by the American Apparel and Footwear Association, was all about innovation – so go ahead and add “innovate” to your to-do list. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you ensure that a multi-national organization outwits, out-produces, and outsells nimble newcomers to the apparel and footwear marketplace?

Luckily, a fantastic lineup of retailers, wholesalers, shippers, service providers and brands shared their strategies for driving innovation, especially in the areas of product development, sourcing, logistics and trade compliance. Here are our top 5 takeaways:

1. Be a master of supply chain, not retail

Take UNIQLO for example. They have mastered the supply chain, with limited, well-researched SKUs, quick time-to-market, and almost no duties – and have seen double-digit growth. Rick Helfenbein, CEO of AAFA, stressed that the “how” outweighs the “what.” 62% of all logistics cost is transportation, a number that only grows with increasing East Coast demand for Asian goods. Also remember that productivity rates matter more than outright cost – while Bangalore suppliers may be cheaper per item than China’s, for example, they may not match in efficiency and output.

2. Be a sourcing pioneer

Asia isn’t the only place to source goods. Africa is one of the world’s biggest untapped resources. By 2035, the working-age population in the region is expected to be as large as China’s is today – more than 900 million people.  While it’s caught the attention of the apparel industry, the continent presents numerous challenges. For example, the area has vast water resources, but lacks the infrastructure to store it. Security in the region also poses a huge threat, as ISIS, Boko Haram, and Somalian pirates add significant risk to many ports.

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Topics: Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Import Compliance, Supply Chain Risk Management, Product, Production Management