Transparency: A Certificate or The Behavior?

This article is contributed by Laszlo Szabo from DataS, Romania.

During the 29 years in the apparel industry with the visits to more than 400 garment factories around the world, I got used with the continuous lamentation of the apparel manufacturers regarding the prices as  “… that bad brands don’t want to pay more …” or “… the buyers should take part in our imminent growing costs …” and other similar approaches.

In general, the expressions could differ, but the meanings are the same whether it is in Africa, Asia or Europe.

First what comes in my mind is that the apparel manufacturer in the before or next second is a buyer of another supplier – like fabric mills, trimmings or like us, for a software solution provider.

What it could be the manufacturer’s reaction if I would use the same arguments like - the AI (Artificial Intelligence), the robotics are magnets for the IT professionals and you should take part in my employee's imminent salary increase …’?

In the last year(s) a large part of the manufacturers’ community speaks mostly about sustainability and transparency, coming from an era with more formality than content.

Everybody wants to be green and who is already green expects from the buyers to take part in its costs, like I’m switching my computers to photovoltaics and after it, I’m asking the manufacturer to pay its part in my investment. To avoid any misinterpretation: I would like to be green everything and now … but “we should wait the right moment” (The King’s answer to Little Prince).

A few days ago, I read an interesting approach to transparency. A respected professional said that they hold certificates for this, that and that which meant they are transparent. The complaint to the brand they don’t follow the transparency because they didn’t provide their supplier list.

Transparency not mean to publish your latest profit generator secret but means to keep your promises and provide enough data to the party to feel comfortable.

Transparency means to not hide the necessary data willingly, nor to forget, it means to provide them in the right time.

Business is business. For all parties is a business.

I think the actual fast progress and the level of “health” (small, enough?) of the planet is assured by the competition. Exists enough protective mechanisms in different domains which had or in the future will have their reverse effects. It would be the time to acknowledge the competition in this industry and focus on how we can add more value instead of to pray for help.

What I noticed in this years - never heard complain regarding prices or any kind of costs increase from well organized, efficient manufacturers.

Is it a surprise?

No, since in the same time we get requests from them to provide continuous measurement data, information, to develop planning and alerting mechanisms for the sensitive parameters.


These manufacturers are looking for the novelties to generate added value and their behavior is transparent not only with certificates but with the background, scientific and measured data.

The productivity is a key parameter followed on each hierarchy level.

The method development and operator trainings are a continuous process with the workplace ergonomics.

The well-defined and structured methods are developed with easy, fast and cost effective PMTS software solutions. At the same time, PMTS software save engineering time and provide enough information for the operator training.

The universally accepted SAM for labor costing and incentive calculation are measured with the same software and not by once established data from old Excel tables … when in meantime are changed the styles, fabrics, line structure, order levels and workplaces.

They have in mind the progress and the flexibility. They follow (or build?) the trend to escape from the expensive artificial boundaries and looks for mobility, simplicity, availability.

More particularities of the successful manufacturers include that never say they don’t have the right professionals. If they do not have it, they search for the required professionals outside and in parallel starts to grow inside employees by dedicated trainings. They always chose the solution and it is not the price guided by need instead of mode.

When the question arrives from the brand “why you ask a higher price?” they could open the file with the background standard data and the calculated accurate figures which includes the clear profit level too … the certificates are not taken from their deserved places on the wall or shelf … and the buyer never want to leave without profit a valuable supplier.

image source: ryanbaldwinphoto.com

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