Beyond China: What Keeps You Awake at Night?
When Centric’s Customer Advisory Board (CAB) met in late August, they cited four distinct issues that scored highest on the “What Keeps You Awake at Night?” meter. Representing the apparel, sporting goods and recreational equipment, consumer electronics, home products, office products and outdoor products industries, these manufacturers were virtually unanimous in naming the changing Chinese manufacturing landscape as their biggest issue.
Beyond China, CAB participants agreed on three additional major issues they face today: quality, compliance management and efficiency.
Brand owners expressed concerns about assuring quality, especially in light of the changing manufacturing scene.
As manufacturing moves to new supplier/partners, the need to spot-check and otherwise assure quality standards are met becomes more urgent.
Moving production to new facilities brings added challenges for brand owners with specialty needs. They must find ways to identify new manufacturing partners with the skill set to meet their brands’ requirements.
Federal: Topping the charts are the U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (“10+2”) and the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), the joint effort between the U.S. government and businesses involved in importing goods into the United States. Without appropriate compliance and certification and compliance, companies with offshore manufacturing operations could find their shipments slowed or even cut off.
Social: Brand owners want to do the right thing when it comes to social compliance. No brand wants or needs the stigma associated with failing to meet essential human and environment compliance mandates, like child labor rules or clean environmental impact standards. Social compliance is good for brand reputation, good for the larger business, and good for communities and the planet.
Contractual: Business contracts with suppliers and customers carry increasingly complex requirements. Every retailer has unique compliance requirements, written into contracts. To continue working as a supplier, companies must manage and track those requirements, which continue to grow in number and complexity.
The urgent and ongoing need to do more with less is on the minds of everyone, whether their companies are holding their own or experiencing impressive growth.
The trend toward greater workforce productivity that began years ago continues today. Staff must continue to become ever more productive and efficient.
At Centric, we are working to help every customer be a better partner to its suppliers, to be more efficient and productive, and to help every supplier be a more valued asset. Let us know how we can help you navigate the changing manufacturing landscape – whether around the world or around your office.
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