Importance of “feet on the ground” in Asia

Custom Apparel Manufacturing & Supplier Relations – 3 minute read

Importance of “feet on the ground” in Asia

COVID-19 is making 2021 overseas supplier audits challenging

JJM Custom Apparel Manufacturing has feet on the ground.”

JJM Custom Apparel Manufacturing knows first-hand how important trust and visibility is between brand and supplier. It’s everything. But how do you develop this trust when your team can’t (or doesn’t feel comfortable) travelling overseas to audit facilities? How do you perform quality spot-checks? Straighten out production problems? Ensure safe working conditions? Build rapport with suppliers from a distance?

COVID-19 has disrupted many retail supply chains

According to a 2020 Supplier Information Study, during the pandemic 93% of procurement and supply chain leaders experienced adverse effects or misinformation about their suppliers that led to missed deadlines (51%), unhappy clients (42%) or financial loss (40%).

The need for visibility is more important than ever in 2021 as travel restrictions and quarantine laws make performing in-person overseas supplier audits tricky.

Nothing can replace being there in person.

Steve O’Mara, President of JJM Custom Apparel Manufacturing, learned early on the importance of having feet on the ground overseas…the hard way. Before setting up JJM’s Shanghai office in 2004, he was importing custom sportswear for clients from China. Many procurement professionals can relate to Steve’s story below…

I had nervously placed a large order with an overseas factory who I hadn’t worked with before. When I wasn’t getting status reports and realized my client’s holiday order was falling behind schedule, I panicked”, recalls O’Mara. “Rather than wait and risk breaking my client’s trust, I jumped on a plane and headed straight to the factory in China to troubleshoot in-person. We got the project back on track, but this stressful experience taught me that you can’t promise people what you can’t guarantee”, said O’Mara.And the only way I could guarantee quality and reliability was to have proper representation in China.

Shortly after this trip, O’Mara moved to China for two years to set up JJM Custom Apparel Manufacturing’s Shanghai office. He hired Lynn Zhou in 2004 and she runs JJM Asia to this day.

How to keep YOUR finger on suppliers in 2021?

With JJM as your supply chain and manufacturing partner, you don’t need to validate, onboard or travel to inspect your suppliers. We do all this for you. You’ll have peace of mind knowing JJM takes on the risk, making the overseas manufacturing experience easy and stress-free.

Three additional advantages of having feet on the ground:  

1. Better Quality and Price

Having feet on the ground in Asia means JJM can frequently inspect factories, assess suppliers’ strengths/new capabilities and provide a consistent volume of orders – which ensures sustainable business for factories…and THE best pricing for you.

2. Faster Response Times

It takes on average 21 days for companies to validate and onboard suppliers. With local representation in Asia, JJM saves you time. PLUS with feet on the ground JJM’s apparel experts can mobilize faster and address any concerns in-person, at the factory before issues become serious. 

3. Communications in your language and time zone

Communicating directly with a factory in China is extremely challenging. Communication errors can to turn into expensive mistakes. JJM’s Shanghai team communicates with suppliers in their language. JJM’s Canadian apparel experts handle all the program management and communications, in your time zone.

If COVID-19 has taught apparel and procurement professionals anything about their supply chains, it’s the importance of trust…and feet on the ground.”

Moving Forward

Are you looking for an established, reliable and honest apparel manufacturer with feet on the ground in Asia? Take the first step and checkout JJM’s process then book a discovery call. Our Canadian and Shanghai apparel experts would love to help.