Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter Brandix has implemented the first stage of a visionary plan to take the apparel solutions provider beyond the manufacture and export of apparel to becoming a massive knowledge-based company that could 'in-source' the business processing requirements of top international retail brands.
The company last week formally inaugurated Brandix Mercury, a sophisticated Shared Services Centre (SSC) at the World Trade Centre in Colombo to drive a 'Transformation for Growth' or 'T4G' plan that will initially undertake an optimisation of financial processes across the group and be a strategic partner to its 25 business units.
Mandated to bring about a measurable group-wide increase in efficiency by providing centralised transaction processing to decision-support, the Centre has already taken over 95 per cent of the financial accounting processes of the Brandix Group and brought together most of the personnel responsible for these processes.
Speaking at the inauguration of Brandix Mercury, Brandix Chairman Ken Balendra said the Shared Services Centre was an initiative that the Board had backed to the hilt. Pointing out that the establishment of such centres is now the trend the world over, he said he looked forward to hearing of the vast strides and material benefits that would arise as a result of this initiative.
We have excellent contacts with the world's best brands and the best retailers. Extending our concept of inspired solutions to encompass value-added services is therefore a logical step
Ashroff Omar, CEO
Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar said the Centre has the potential to expand its capabilities to offer similar value-added services to its top international customer base. Stressing that "our vision is to grow this into a massive knowledge-based company," Mr. Omar said: "We have excellent contacts with the world's best brands and the best retailers. Extending our concept of inspired solutions to encompass value-added services is therefore a logical step."
The Shared Services Centre, whose primary task will be transforming finance for growth, will be responsible for process standardisation, process documentation and the harmonisation of accounting standards and practices across the Brandix Group and the alignment of all financial accounting policies with Group policy and goals. One of its objectives will be to move the processes within strategic business units from different schools of thought to best practices that lead to long term value creation. Nadun Fernando, a former Chief Financial Officer of one of the clusters within the Brandix Group has been appointed Head of Shared Services.
According to Kishan Jayasekera, Chief Operating Officer - Group Treasury & Business Services, the Centre's remit will cover people, processes and technology and its role will encompass driving process excellence, customer satisfaction and cost reduction, managing risk and measuring and monitoring business performance.
The Brandix Group (www.brandix.com), which employs more than 22,000 people, pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is the country's largest apparel exporter with a consolidated annual turnover of over US$ 320 million in 2006-07. The winner of two Presidential Export Awards in 2007, the Group is a preferred solutions provider to some of the world's best brands, including Gap, Marks & Spencer, Victoria's Secret, NEXT, Lands End, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger. Brandix specialises in casual bottoms, intimate and active wear, textiles, knitted fabrics, sewing and embroidery thread, accessories and hangers and also offers wet processing and finishing and fabric printing.