Heightened Supply Chain Security in the Shadow of Risk

Posted by Gary M. Barraco on Mon, Apr, 25 2016 @ 4:02 PM

Global supply chains are growing in complexity, yet remain vulnerable to myriad dangers damaging to both people and businesses. Supply chain disruptions, delays and loss of goods are costly global problems. The supply chain must be protected against those disruptions by establishing processes like counter-terrorism evaluations, identifying the most critical elements of the supply chain system, and bolstering resilience so the supply chain can recover quickly from any disruptions. 

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Topics: Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility, Supply Chain Risk Management, Risk and Quality 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, Product Development

Boosting Real Value in the Supply Chain with SRM Initiatives

Posted by Ryan Gudovitz on Wed, Jan, 6 2016 @ 10:27 AM

In today’s competitive sourcing environment, collaborative and strong supplier relationships deliver substantial benefits for manufacturers and suppliers alike. Supplier relationship management (SRM) initiatives are on the rise, and companies who successfully implement these programs can realize a significant return on their technology investments.

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Topics: Retail, Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Global Supply Chain

[USFIA Webinar] Dialing into the Supplier Network

Posted by Nick Fabretti on Thu, Dec, 3 2015 @ 9:58 AM

Suppliers are the most valuable asset a manufacturer has, but it isn’t always a simple task to manage and maintain a supplier base when there are external pressures making it difficult. For instance, the rising cost of China labor is the most common reason brands are seeking to move part of their production from the mainland to other ASEAN countries. Since 2011 when the current Five-Year Plan came into effect, wages have risen in 16 of 31 provinces in China. Average wages are expected to increase by around 10 percent this year.1

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Topics: Retail, Apparel, Supplier Management, webinar

Amber Road to Discuss HTS Footwear Classification at the AAFA Footwear Workshop

Posted by Ryan Gudovitz on Thu, Oct, 1 2015 @ 2:30 PM

On Thursday, October 8th, Amber Road will sponsor the AAFA Footwear Workshop: Product Safety & Responsible Manufacturing at the New Balance facility in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Designed specifically for footwear companies, this workshop will deliver updates on federal, state, and international regulations as well as discuss the business practices that will help prevent any regulatory issues from blindsiding your business.

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Topics: Manufacturing, Global Sourcing, Supplier Management, Events, Footwear, Global Supply Chain, Supply Chain Risk Management

Risk in the Supply Chain: Recovering From Disaster

Posted by Nick Fabretti on Tue, Sep, 15 2015 @ 1:22 PM

Traditional methods for managing supply chain risk rely on knowing the likelihood of occurrence and the magnitude of impact for every potential event that could materially disrupt a company’s operations. This becomes much more difficult when high-impact, mega disasters occur. The reality of catastrophes, whether environmental or self-inflicted, is that there isn’t much time for preparation within your supply chain, if any.

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Topics: Retail, Apparel, Supplier Management, webinar, Risk and Quality Management

One Small Step for Footwear, One Giant Leap for the Global Economy

Posted by Ryan Gudovitz on Thu, Jul, 2 2015 @ 10:14 AM

On June 29th, President Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA-2015) bill into law. This bill is a ground-breaking step in removing trade barriers that hinder a truly free and open global economy.

The passage of TPA was vital in order to further progress towards free trade giving the executive branch the ability to negotiate free trade agreements for the U.S. while providing a strong backing for the President to lower tariffs between Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries. This progression could save nearly $400 million a year in duties for the footwear industry alone!

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Topics: Supplier Management, Global Trade Management, Trade Agreements, Footwear

Brown Shoe Describes Design-to-Delivery Process at #GartnerSCC

Posted by Kelsey Barker on Thu, May, 14 2015 @ 3:07 PM

Using Amber Road’s technology to connect with suppliers is a critical part of Brown Shoe Company’s design-to-delivery process, said Jeff Kuhn, vice president of supply chain planning and operations at the company.

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Topics: Retail, Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility

Factory Concerns Still Remain Two Years after the Collapse of Rana Plaza

Posted by Nick Fabretti on Thu, May, 7 2015 @ 2:03 PM

Bangladesh, which houses over 5,000 garment factories that make up 80% of the country’s $24 billion in annual exports, has faced countless tragedies over the last decade resulting in major concerns over unsafe working environments. Unfortunately, questions regarding safety issues and factory compliance still remain for Bangladesh, the second largest garment exporter behind China.

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Topics: Supplier Management, Supply Chain Visibility, Risk and Quality Management

Polishing up Brown Shoe Company’s Design to Delivery Strategy

Posted by Kelsey Barker on Tue, May, 5 2015 @ 2:47 PM

For top footwear and apparel brands, getting your suppliers, testers, manufacturers and shippers on the same page is no easy task. Attendees at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Summit next week will learn how Brown Shoe Company achieved true supplier collaboration with solutions from Amber Road in a presentation on Tuesday.

Brown Shoe Company, which manages Famous Footwear, Sam Edelman, Via Spiga, and many other footwear brands, was confronted with rising costs stemming from its dependency on Chinese suppliers. Additionally, the company was experiencing speed-to-market issues from antiquated systems and processes. Brown Shoe Company devised a multi-year strategy to diversify its source mix and improve factory execution and on-time delivery. Central to its strategy was the need to improve supplier and extended partner collaboration across all phases of the design to delivery process.

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Topics: Amber Road News, Supplier Management