Last week I headed to the International Sourcing Fair in Melbourne. It was my first time attending in Melbourne. The expo is always on at a particularly busy time of year so I have not managed to make it there previously.
There are 2 reasons I visited:
Firstly, I wanted to meet with some of the manufacturers to find out about the product they produce, the quantities and processes they follow.
I am not opposed to offshore production at all; however, I do believe there is a stepping stone to developing a range overseas. Get your systems down pat locally first before heading overseas is the secret to success. My concern with the majority of clients I see who wish to manufacture overseas is that they believe it is easier and cheaper than local production even for small numbers.
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if you manufacture overseas you still need to be the driver of the project, the expert in your product, the process and the quality controller at each stage of the project.
Please do not think it is as easy as sending a sketch or a garment and expecting 1000 perfect garments to arrive on your doorstep in 3 months without a hitch.
In fact we are working with more and more larger businesses who are looking to develop their whole range onshore with us and then send final patterns to their factory. Often we start with 3 or 4 styles one year, the designer loves how easy and quick the process has been and the following season we work on the complete range.
I hear the frustration in designers all the time, from people sick of late deliveries and poor quality fit to frustrations in communicating designs. Some designers are so frustrated they feel that they can not put their name to the product that does not fit right or look as they intended.
The second reason I visited was to see how we can support these factories. On a recent trip to the Canton Fair it was overwhelmingly obvious that manufacturers realise that developing prototypes is not their strong point. The sampling process alone can cripple the production process and eat away at all their profit.
Not having local knowledge of fit and customer leaves these factories with little direction in what the customer needs.
There is an easier way; understanding the development process and the checks and balances is something we specialise in. Combining onshore support with offshore production is definitely something worth considering if you are finding the production process too hard.
Feel free to give us a call if you would like to know more on 03 9041 3488 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.