Importance of “feet on the ground” in Asia

Custom Apparel Manufacturing & Supplier Relations – 3 minute read

Importance of “feet on the ground” in Asia

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 audit overseas factories? How do you perform quality spot-checks? Straighten out production problems? Ensure safe working conditions? Build rapport with suppliers from a distance?


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. Before setting up JJM’s Shanghai office in 2004, he was importing custom sportswear from China. Many procurement professionals can relate to Steve’s story below…

I had nervously placed a large order with a new overseas factory. 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.

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 to set up JJM Custom Apparel Manufacturing’s Shanghai office. He hired Lynn Zhou in 2004 and she runs JJM Asia to this day.


Benefits of a supplier with feet on the ground in Asia

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.

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

Looking for a supplier 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 are here to help.