Merchandising department works as mediator in between factory and buyers. This department is considered as heart and soul of the company. They coordinate with buyers for order, send sample for approvals and receive comments on samples and other approvals.
Roles and Responsibilities of Apparel Merchandisers
1. Communicating with buyers: Merchandisers communicate with the buyer on regular basis to understand buyer’s needs. They communicate with the buyer for clarifying each and every queries related product development, production, quality requirement etc.
2. Developing garment sample – Merchandiser develop various garment sample as requested by the buyer and submit to the buyer for approvals. Sometimes orders are confirmed after a few sample pieces are seen by the buyer. Buyer's comments and feedback is collected by the merchandiser and the necessary changes are conveyed to the concerned personnel.
3. Product costing - Based on the existing infrastructure, quality norms and capabilities of the plant merchandiser sources orders across the markets and submits a probable costing sheet to the buyer. If the buyer finds the plant compatible with its compliance with the costing being appropriate to the merchandise, the order is confirmed.
4. Developing good relationship with customers - Merchandisers ensure the product quality and timely shipment delivery to satisfy buyers. The work of a merchandiser starts even before getting the order and extends even after the shipment happens so as to maintain post purchase service and relationship with the buyer.
They accompany buyers on visits to manufacturers to appreciate production processes and meeting with suppliers.
5. Scheduling of activities - Merchants handles multiple orders at a time. Sometimes they work of styles of multiple seasons. They look into all orders closely. So they prepare detailed activity schedules. They make Time and Action Calendar (TNA) for scheduling for various pre-production and production activities like sampling, approvals, cutting, sewing, final inspection date, shipment dispatch etc. Time and action calendar is shared with all production team, quality team and other concerned personnel.
6. BOM Preparation - Merchandiser makes Bill of Materials and handover the same to sourcing department. They coordinate and track the sourcing activities and makes sure that all the raw materials are delivered on time. See the following figure for sample BOM.
7. Sourcing raw material – Merchants initiate sourcing raw material. Even they select the vendor for fabrics and other raw material. Chase with the raw material supplier and also responsible for sourcing material on time.
8. Providing Quality approval - Merchandising department approves of the quantity of sourced trims and accessories to be used in production. They give approval to production team on print design, construction etc.
9. Preparing Production File - They prepare production file by which they communicate style detailing and quality standard to the production department. Copy the production file is also given to the quality department.
10. Conducting Pre-Production Meeting - Merchants conduct pre-production meeting for each style. PP Meeting is held after receiving buyer approval and comments on PP Sample. The internal PPM is held only among factory members to discuss the style, trims, construction, production schedule etc.
In PPM merchant gives production file to production and quality team. If there are further clarifications, an external PPM is held with the Q.C, merchandiser, and buyer.
11. Order Execution - Merchandisers constantly keep track of the position of the order that is being processed in the factory. Merchandiser is the one who is responsible and in turn answerable to the buyer for delivering the goods as specified and within the committed time period. Therefore, she is a link in order to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Identifying production and supply difficulties and dealing with them as and when they occur.
12. Providing after sales services - Once the order is executed and the shipment is dispatched, merchandiser takes care of the post-shipment comments and tries to maintain a long-term relationship with the buyer.
Also Read: Apparel Merchandising and Challenges in Merchandising Job as a Career