As the apparel industry has moved to Asia, Latin America and other offshore locations, so have the many suppliers to this industry. For example, Plasti-form Spotless is a global provider of plastic hangers to apparel manufacturers and many retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target and Federated, that buy the garments.
According to Clyde A. Davis Jr., logistics manager for Plasti-form Spotless in Asheville, N.C., his company, which was domestically oriented just a few years ago, now does business in more than 40 countries. To make its worldwide network operate efficiently, Plasti-form has partnered with Mallory Alexander International Logistics to handle its global container moves as well as its customs compliance.
"Mallory Alexander is truly a global solutions provider for us," says Davis, who explains that Plasti-form not only imports from Central America, China, Hong Kong and Asian sources, but it also moves significant volumes from one foreign point to another. "We have become a global company very quickly, and Mallory Alexander does the job for us."
Plasti-form depends heavily on contract molders around the world that serve local markets. Another competitive advantage for Plasti-form is a global distribution network based on the parent company's sister operations all over the world. Plasti-form is part of the worldwide Spotless Enterprises operation based in Melbourne, Australia.
"We sell to sister companies in local markets like Hong Kong, and they might buy from us," says Davis. "We have to be able to operate all over the world."
According to Davis, though Mallory Alexander is smaller than some of the other logistics companies that were evaluated, its strong presence in the cotton trade allowed it to provide competitive rates, as well as excellent reliability.
"Anybody can quote a low bid, but if the carriers don't want to pick up the containers at the price, the rate is not worth the paper it is printed on," he says. "We do not compromise the service our customers need. Stores need our hangers to make their shipments and Mallory moves our freight, so we are considered a reliable supplier."
Davis also appreciates Mallory Alexander's high levels of customer service. For example, Mallory still does its own letters of credit, which allows for rapid flexibility if change is needed to complete a shipment or transaction, which is often the case.
"We like Mallory's hands-on approach to customer service because it fits into our own philosophy," says Davis. "We can reach anyone at Mallory Alexander we ever need to reach, from the COO to the dock manager, 24/7."
As global volumes for Plasti-form have increased, its international trade processes have also become more complex. Mallory Alexander is now also helping the company improve all of its import/export operations to include compliance, logistics, procurement, sales and financial processes. Plasti-form is also becoming C-TPAT certified with Mallory's assistance.
"We have greatly improved these processes, especially our compliance consistency," says Davis, who adds that the next phase is to develop a company-wide import/export compliance manual that includes training, process documentation and overall accountability procedures. "The success that Plasti-form enjoys is in part due to partnerships we have with companies like Mallory Alexander."
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