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next Sourcing Suppliers Seminar 2018 felicitates top suppliers

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From left: next Sourcing Sri Lanka Associate Director Wilhelm Elias and Senior Merchandise Manager Thikula Samaradivakara, Sampath Associates Sampath Associates International Managing Director Saliya Rodrigo, Crystal Martin Garments CEO Collin Vose, Next Manufacturing Director of Manufacturing David Reay, next Sourcing Sri Lanka Technical Director Hugh McConnell and Senior Merchandise Manager Fiaz Ozeer


next Sourcing, a fully-owned subsidiary of the retail clothing and accessory giant next Plc – UK, held the ‘Suppliers’ Seminar 2018,’ the latest edition of its annual ceremony that focuses on recognising and rewarding the company’s suppliers for their achievements in the previous year. 

The colourful event was held at the Park Street Mews Colombo amidst a large gathering that included the management and team members of next Sourcing together with representatives from the supplier organisations.

During the event, awards of recognition were presented to the top three suppliers for their exceptional performances in 2017 despite the numerous difficulties faced in the global and local economic environment. The Gold award was won by Crystal Martin Garments Ltd., the Silver award by next Manufacturing Ltd. and the Bronze award by Sampath Associates International Ltd. 

next Sourcing also praised the significant contributions of the entire supplier base for continuing to achieve sales targets while ensuring that high production quality and timely delivery standards were met. 

Since inception, next Sourcing has built long-standing relationships with the entire supplier base with some partnerships approaching 20 years. The company works closely with all suppliers to ensure that they continuously improve their manufacturing process to meet the stringent requirements of next Plc – UK when sourcing the finest, most exclusive fabrics and garments from Sri Lanka. 

The event also included a performance overview of ‘next’ sales during the last quarter, with an updated indication on the current performance in line with the Key Performance Indicators set by next Plc – UK.

next Sourcing is engaged in the design, sourcing, buying, merchandising and quality control of next Plc products. The company also coordinates with a global network of offices to negotiate market prices, manages the supply chain, and ensures on-time delivery on behalf of next Plc. The bi-annual factory evaluations allow the next Sourcing management to make the selections for the top three factories out of a relatively large factory base present in Sri Lanka. 

next Sourcing Associate Director Wilhelm Elias stated: “The retail clothing industry has been through a very tough 18-24 months. A decline in discretionary spending as a result of general inflation rising faster than average earnings and the shift in spending habits in the UK and Europe from less stuff to more experiences has taken a toll on many retailers resulting in store closures and jobs to be culled. Whilst retail is a struggle, we will continue to invest by way of shutting down smaller non-performing stores and opening bigger lifestyle stores. The shift to more online shopping is permanent and the investments we have made on website enhancements have paid dividends resulting in double digit growth. 

“I am pleased to state that next Sourcing Sri Lanka has done well this year with improved service in terms of on time delivery and an increase in sales on last year and credit to goes to all of our teams and long-standing suppliers for pulling out all the stops. Our focus for 2019 would be to keep our service levels consistent and achieve growth on the year.”

Addressing the audience at the event, next Sourcing Technical Director Hugh McConnell stated, “Through their commitment to achieving a high standard of quality on a consistent basis across all products Sri Lanka manufacturers have an established reputation for reliability on quality standards and product performance with Next UK. While the competition from other countries to Next UK is improving every year, Sri Lanka is still the top performer in this category which is meritorious when the product has become more varied with increased technical fabrics and embellishments.”

next Sourcing Senior Merchandise Manager Fiaz Ozeer stated: “We witnessed a positive growth in the fourth quarter and forecast a potential growth of 6.2% in the year ahead. It is important that Sri Lanka capitalises on skilled labour and provides an excellent service to all customers in order to remain competitive in the global market. 

“In the apparel industry there are three fundamentals when it comes to service – speed of sampling, quality of the product and on time delivery performances. Accomplishment of these essentials has led our business towards a positive outlook. The high standards our suppliers have continued to achieve over the years have also enabled us to win the confidence of our customer. All these come at a competitive price, which means, as long as we maintain a high service level, our growth is assured.”

next Sourcing Sri Lanka produces next-branded children’s and women’s garments, as well as women’s lingerie and menswear. Over twenty years of experience gives the company an edge over the global competition and an opportunity to create greater value for their stakeholders. 

Exclusive, coordinated collections of stylish, cost-effective garments are distributed through the next retail network, which consists of more than 500 stores in the UK alone and almost 200 stores serving customers in over 70 countries. 

next Sourcing offices are located worldwide, including in Leicester, London, Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, North India, South India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

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