The subjects of the sessions centred around the mega theme of ‘Sourcing Beyond China’ and talked about critical areas of the industry – Trends, Business Directions, Sourcing, Technology, Supply Chain Management and Market Intelligence. The speakers were global industry experts who understand the industry and were ready to talk with clarity and conviction.
Perhaps the honesty in addressing the various topics in each session was one of the biggest reasons that the event appealed to the attendees who have heard many discussions over the last 9 months or so. It is really important to hit upon topics that the industry wants to hear and also deal with them with depth, not sermons!
While all the sessions were interesting and worthy of hearing, I have my favourites. In particular, two panel discussions caught my attention for their depth. I would urge those who could not attend live to register at ASW Marketplace and enjoy the recordings.
I am the most ardent proponent for complementing Bangladesh strengths to India’s strengths and have advocated the same in my editorials many times. The thought was so beautifully brought out in the session on ‘Re-Inventing Supply Chain Collaborations Between Bangladesh And India’, which openly aired ground realities and questioned ‘intent’.
Arshad Jamal, Chairman of Tusuka Group in particular put forward some thought-provoking suggestions to strengthen ties and urged players from both sides to be transparent, as also be more engaged and committed to address challenges. It was stressed that there are many areas of collaborations possible, but it was for the players themselves to build the bridges!
I completely agree to the thought process and am convinced that together the countries can be a formidable force. But before that we have to move beyond our comfort zone to outline and achieve common goals. By treating each other as only competition and not looking at the bigger picture, both countries are losing valuable opportunities.
Another session that I really enjoyed was helmed by the buyer community. I had heard a lot many speakers talk on what is being touted as a preferred supplier but this was the first time when the sourcing heads actually presented me with the what they did and the benefits that accrued to them.
The speakers, all global sourcing experts with decades of experience in sourcing from the region, reiterated that besides agility, flexibility, adoption of the latest technology and focus on every aspect of sustainability, exporters need to be financially sound to face the challenges today and emerge as preferred suppliers.
In today’s environment, companies that have the financial strength to weather the bouts of lockdowns, bankruptcies, order cancellations and payment delays are the only ones who can survive. This is a reality that no one can deny.
Almost every other day, we see factories closing down and just when things started to look better, the second and reportedly more dangerous wave has hit the world, pushing us all back into a state of uncertainty… I leave my thoughts on this for another day.