In a recent article, Forbes Magazine dubbed local manufacturing as a “secret weapon” for a new generation of entrepreneurs, and we couldn’t agree more.
When we think about manufacturing, our minds often drift off-shore. We automatically begin to compare labor costs and raw material rates of distant countries. This has been the norm, but not for much longer. In fact, the off-shore model of production and manufacturing may be losing favor in the world of fashion, and here’s why.
Once you apply tech-driven smarts to the production, the supply chain, and the manufacturing process, you may no longer need to live with the worries of an offshore manufacturing process just for the cost arbitrage. With the help of technology and years of valuable experience, factories right in our backyards are able to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Manufacturing is one of the largest industries in the USA after construction and real estate. Los Angeles alone creates around half a million jobs in the sector. Localizing fashion manufacturing can play a role in keeping those numbers high! The benefits of localized manufacturing in the community are obvious, but what about the benefits for the industry itself?
Let’s take a closer look.
Transparency has become an integral part of the fashion industry. In the connected age where the consumer has a voice, the demand for transparency has never been more evident. Consumers, especially millennials, are much more conscious about what they consume. These customers want to know exactly what goes into the making of each garment.
The fashion companies that can provide that level of transparency into their sourcing, manufacturing, and business practices have the opportunity to build enduring relationships with these customers. Supply chain technology, combined with local manufacturing, can help them do just that. Platforms, such as the Suuchi GRID, can allow brands to have full visibility into their supply chain, which enables brands to relay that information to their end-consumer through their marketing efforts. This form of transparency, nowadays, allows brands to truly differentiate themselves and gain market share to their competitors.
The fashion industry as a whole has acquired a bad reputation for outsourcing their work to sweatshops in third-world countries. Some of them have been found to employ children, not pay living wages, and maintain dismal working conditions, all to cut costs. While there has been action taken to move away from these malpractices, unfortunately, many overseas factories continue to operate this way. This is, of course, morally unacceptable. As it happens, it’s also not what the conscious consumer of today is willing to accept.
When you outsource your manufacturing to another country, you have little or no control over what’s actually going on within the walls of the factories; unless you personally travel to these facilities and ensure they’re following their country’s compliance guidelines. On the other hand, when you manufacture locally, you not only create jobs for the community but can be hands on in what is happening in the factories and the production process.
Last but certainly not least, by manufacturing domestically, you support local businesses. You create jobs and have a get a great opportunity to give back to the community. There are plenty of homegrown, US vendors and brands, large and small that deserve your support. And in return, they will give you their all while manufacturing a clothing line that your customers will love.
Let’s just say that contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be just a purpose-driven fashion entrepreneur to reap the benefits of on-shore manufacturing. It clearly has a number of business benefits too. From heavily reduced shipping costs to hands-on control, domestic manufacturing allows for faster turnover time, agile operations, speed with prototyping, and a more nimble supply chain. Yes, the time is now for Made in the USA!
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