Supply chain representatives from 15 countries briefed on prospects & challenges at Vendor Summit in Colombo
Sri Lanka's single largest apparel exporter, Brandix, expects to double in size over the next four years even as it substantially reduces consumption of natural resources and shrinks its carbon footprint, a representative segment of international suppliers to the industry have been told.
Supply chain representatives from 15 countries, who were brought together in Colombo by Brandix Apparel at a high-powered Vendor Summit, were given a persuasive account of the growth of the Group over the past 10 years and a thought-provoking visage of the opportunities and potential of the future.
As a Group, Brandix has grown 47 per cent year-on-year for the past 10 years and doubled in size over the past four years despite the vicissitudes of global markets and economies, delegates to the summit learnt. This was the fourth such summit organised by Brandix for vendor partners. This year's theme was 'Winning Solutions.'
Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya said this exponential growth was also reflected in product categories as well as in customer accounts. Over just five years, companies in the Brandix Group had doubled, tripled and quadrupled, their volumes for top international labels, he said.
Stressing that "It is customer positions that drive us, not just the numbers," Mr. Wickremesooriya explained that this growth had largely been achieved by focusing on simple fundamentals such as on-time delivery, price, speed, product and the sustainability platform, with commitments to Greener products, organic cotton, Fair Trade certifications and the Better Cotton initiative.
"The message behind all this is that there is substantial opportunity for further growth for Brandix and the Group's vendor partners," he said.
Elaborating on the Group's progress in the sphere of Green manufacturing, Iresha Somaratne, Head of Environment & Energy Management at Brandix said the Group had reduced its Carbon Footprint by 22 per cent since 2009 and was well on target in achieving a 30 per cent reduction by 2012. Water consumption had been reduced by 47 per cent from 2010 to 2011, and the target of zero solid waste to landfill had been already been achieved, he said. Quoting the findings of a recent international survey, he said 50 per cent of customers had expressed a preference to buy goods and services from environment-friendly companies, and 75 per cent of them were willing to pay more for such products.
Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar in his presentation identified rapidly shrinking lead times as one of the biggest challenges for the apparel industry. The growing demand for 'instant gratification' by trend-driven consumers could result in manufacturers being given hours rather than days to deliver new designs within the next 18 to 24 months, he said. In order to respond, the apparel industry would have to "redefine collaboration" by finding ways to use the latest advances in information technology to completely integrate the multiple supply chains of vendors, manufacturers and retailers to create visibility and deliver flawlessly at high speed, Mr. Omar said.
He challenged the audience to find ways to use the vast amount of accumulated data at the industry's disposal to "change the game" by enabling it to proactively drive fashion trends with technology rather than react to them.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to the top vendor partners of Brandix. The award categories were Best Support Product Partner, Best Apparel Service Provider, Most Innovative Partner - Accessories, Most Innovative Partner - Textiles, Best Emerging Partner - Accessories, Best Emerging Partner - Textiles, Most Flexible Partner, Vendor of the Year - Textiles and Vendor of the Year - Accessories. The Vendor of the Year - Textiles award was conferred to Pacific Textiles, while Stretchline and Seihoi were declared joint winners of the title of Vendor of the Year - Accessories.
The Vendor Summit was preceded by a Vendor Roadshow, at which 67 local and international vendor partners took stalls to present their goods and services.