IAF’s Matthijs Crietee delivered a speech at Dialog’s Textil Bekleidung’s (DTB) and MODINT’s bi-annual Sourcing Convention. He explained the elements of the ‘2nd phase post MFA’ sourcing pattern following the first drop in imports of apparel from China in 2013. The main beneficiary of a withdrawal from China is Bangladesh, clearly visible in the EU import figures over 2013. Other elements, such as near shoring and pioneering in new production countries such as Ethiopia are not yet visible in the broad figures.
The most striking element of this new sourcing phase, remarked Crietee, is that the focus has shifted from moving production to improving production. All of the presentations at the DTB sourcing Convention made clear in their own way that the industry has re-discovered investments in factories and investments in the supply chain. The fact that in the short and medium run few volume alternatives to China and Bangladesh are available is fuelling this development.
This shift in focus led to a very positive and constructive sentiment among the Convention’s delegates and speakers. Portugal’s Twintex’ presentation focused on the 52% energy cost reduction they had achieved by investing in score’s of energy saving measures. Several presentations on Bangladesh focused on investments made in transport infrastructure, investments made in structural safety of buildings and investments in lean manufacturing techniques. Consultancy KS and solution provider GT Nexus also added to this the investments made in the supply chain, notably in collaborative planning software.
IAF’s Crietee expressed his organization’s positive view of a revival of interest in factory floor and supply chain investments. He told the audience of German and Dutch sourcing and buying executives that the IAF, with its truly global membership, embodies the importance of a collaborative effort involving buyers and manufacturers. Only this collaborative effort will improve the system performance of the apparel value chain.