“Commitment, reliability, quality and transparency are essentials of a preferred supplier”: CJ International

by Apparel Resources

28-September-2017  |  5 mins read

Roshan Withanage, Managing Director, CJ International

Having started its operations in Bangladesh in 2006, CJ International is a Swedish buying house spearheaded by Roshan Withanage as the Managing Director. Besides Bangladesh, CJ International also has offices in India, China, Pakistan and Hong Kong in addition to its partners in Latvia, Estonia and Thailand.

Working predominantly with Scandinavia, sweaters account for almost half of CJ International’s total business from Bangladesh, while the remaining 40 per cent is shared by knit and woven products, and 10 per cent by home textiles (bathrobes, towels, etc). It has a well-equipped design studio in Sweden, in-house product development teams (both for design and yarn development) and a testing lab (employing a full-time technician and complete set of equipment including an International Lab Standard washer, a dryer, a GSM cutter and GSM weighing machines among others) and its very own knitting factory, Young 4ever Textiles Limited (specialized in all kinds of knitted products), with a production capacity of over 4,00,000 pieces per month.

Rule of Three

According to me, the three most important factors for being recognized as a preferred supplier are:

  • Commitment and Reliability
  • Quality, and
  • Transparency/Honesty

Sync with Changing Dynamics

I personally see that very few suppliers are changing as per the global apparel trade requirements. Suppliers need to be fast in feedback and proactive in design and trends. Also, they need to be more accommodative to the buyers’ needs. Those who give a personal and customized response will definitely win in the long run.

Biggest Challenge!

Minimum order quantities are too high, unlike in China. Suppliers are also not geared up to take on new trend-based challenges; they look too much into doing what they have been doing till now.

The Future

The garment exports in Bangladesh will continue to grow not because they are great or they deserve it but due to the simple reason of low labour cost and low energy costs when comparing the competition (which gives less choice to the buyers). If they were proactive, innovative and customer-driven, they could have grown much more.

AO SURVEY FINDINGS

The respondents also agreed that the other major considerations for a preferred supplier would be defined on the basis of: The respondents also agreed that the other major considerations for a preferred supplier would be defined on the basis of:

• Upfront Attitude of Management (Transparency/Partnerships)

• PD Skills/Innovation• Speed to Market

• Product Price/Quality Ratio

Advantage BD

Low prices, and established industry with years of export knowledge (compared to the African countries).

Supplier Pool

Even though I personally would like to agree that a preferred vendor list can help simplify business and give a sense of stability and continuity in supply, a modern business shouldn’t restrict itself to only a limited number of suppliers. But we are not in a position to do so due to the simple fact that more than 50 per cent of the vendors are not reliable or responsible. Therefore, it pays to stick to the known few vendors. Although it’s a matter of time before the industry ups its standards and all the vendors come to an almost equal platform.

With global connectivity improving and advancement of e-commerce, it will be normal to shop around for new vendors more often, but it will take a bit more time in Bangladesh to happen.

Business Policies

I totally agree that we should be flexible enough to change our policies provided that the vendors, who are not the preferred ones, are ethical and do not harm the environment. Being rigid on our own policies will make us lose our competitive advantage in the market as flexibility is the key in this business.

Maintaining the Edge

In this age, when most of the businesses review the supplier list almost every few years to get the best bargain possible, the following qualities/factors can help a supplier maintain that competitive edge:

  • Be proactive to changes,
  • Adopt LEAN management,
  • Be flexible to the buyers’ requirements,
  • Look for a niche market (can do parallel to one’s core basic products),
  • Continue absorbing new technologies, and
  • Look for new supplier markets with low infrastructure costs and labour to establish oneself parallel to one’s current production base.

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