In 2010, China dominated European and U.S. markets for ready-made garments, accounting for about 40 percent of the import volume in each region. A recent McKinsey survey, however, found that 86 percent of the chief purchasing officers in leading apparel companies in Europe and the United States planned to decrease levels of sourcing in China over the next five years because of declining profit margins and capacity constraints.
To remain competitive in today's fast-paced, global environment, manufacturers are adopting newly designed, high-speed wireless networks to help take better control of plant operations. Engineers and operators are being armed with iPads, laptops and high-speed scanners running on these networks to bring their facilities up-to-date with instantaneous, real-time communication.
Is the term "demand responsiveness" a true call to action on the part of manufacturers, or is it just another buzz phrase? Rakesh Sharma, president and founder of Zyom Inc., believes it can have real value. He defines the term as an approach whereby companies with physical products work closely with an "ecosystem" of partners on the sales side, communicating through multi-tiered channels. Finding out in a timely fashion what has changed in those channels is no simple task anymore, given the expanding network of partners in outsourced relationships.
Crossbeam, a provider of enterprise network security solutions, found it struggled with meeting same-day and next-day delivery requirements mandated in its service-level agreements, says Jim Curley, director, manufacturing & technical operations. It needed automated export compliance from a company with a global footprint, says John Miller, senior vice president, global business development, Flash Global Logistics.