Apparel stakeholders to brainstorm today

Friday, 18 November 2011 00:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis

Apparel industry stakeholders will today gather at the Mount Lavinia Hotel for a full-day discussion on the sector and supply chain organisation and management.

The South Asian Apparel Leaders Forum, part of the Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) agenda, is an attempt to strengthen the public-private partnership among stakeholders.

With representatives from across the industry supply chain set to attend the event, the symposium will address issues and challenges faced by different segments of the industry.

The objective of the event is to iron out concerns on achieving the status of an apparel hub in the South Asian region. American Apparel Producers Network Managing Director Mike Todaro stated that the meeting would take a different approach to the usual industry meetings and delve mainly into four key subjects.

“We will talk about creating a hub, making Sri Lanka the apparel hub of this region. We will also explore the area of leveraging technology and consolidating skills and technologies to create market speed,” Todaro said. “The meeting will discuss and attempt to come up with concepts to differentiate Sri Lanka to make it the next success story. Lastly, we will go into sustainability.”

The forum will look at organising the supply chain much closely than before. “The objective of the discussion is to take action.”

According to Todaro, the challenge for companies in Sri Lanka is to stop selling what the country knows how to make and start making what the customer can sell. He stated that the reason is that in recent times, there has been a power shift from retailers and brands to factories.

“Retailers and brands are demanding cheaper products. But if you work together, you will find ways to counter the argument through value addition such as speed.”

“The strides you have made in terms of sustainability are phenomenal. But we need to put numbers on it. People will remember numbers, not concepts,” Todaro said, addressing the Apparel Exporters’ AGM earlier this week.

“I cannot wait for the meeting to start… SLDF this time will see many more US and European brands coming in, hoping to know the plan for the next five years. What is going to come from Friday’s meeting is a plan of action to market Sri Lanka as a hub right in the Middle of South Asia.”

From a global perspective, the world is divided into two parts – China and non-China, he said. “The question is, where does Sri Lanka fit in there? The answer is that it fits in as a part of the region. You must peak as a region.”