NEW YORK — Collaboration is the watchword for companies looking to maintain a smooth supply chain especially as sourcing efforts become more global, said industry executives at a daylong conference here on Tuesday.
The conference, titled “Supply Chain/Speed-to-Market” and hosted by Emanuel Weintraub Associates, was a forum for retailers, manufacturers and supply chain experts to share their views on effective sourcing strategies.
Bob Negron, group president at Liz Claiborne Inc., said a key component of supply chain management is “institutional collaboration,” which involves focusing on collaborative relationships within the company and outside the firm, both domestically and overseas.
For example, some Liz Claiborne executives spend time in Asia to oversee the color-match and lab-dipping process, an area that can create problems with the supply chain timetable if errors occur, he said. Federated Department Stores Inc. follows a similar procedure, allowing designers to travel overseas to work with suppliers on color approvals, said Harry Frankel, senior vice president of Macy’s merchandising group.
It’s important to approach speed to market from a perspective that looks up and down the whole value chain, agreed Kent Smith, vice president of apparel, Americas at Lycra/Invista, during his presentation.
“Think about speed to market very holistically,” he urged. Partnering with suppliers can give a retailer access to “free options” such as consumer research, as well as global market access, Smith added.