Fashion technology and “Made in California”
U.S. apparel manufacturing is a hot topic these days. And while it will never displace global sourcing (97% of apparel sold in the U.S. is manufactured overseas, and those numbers aren’t budging anytime soon), NGC has seen increased interest in using our fashion technology solutions for domestic manufacturing – including ERP, PLM, Supply Chain Management and Shop Floor Control.
California is a prime example of a state that’s seeing a small renaissance in domestic apparel production, as a number of companies are basing their business on “Made in California.” We’re pleased that California Apparel News asked our own Mark Goldberg, Director of NGC’s Western Region, to share his insights on Made in California and how fashion technology can help manage both the risks and rewards in domestic manufacturing. In case you missed last week’s article, here’s the full text. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
“Made in California:” Managing Risks, Rewards with Fashion Technology
by Mark Goldberg, Director of Western Region, NGC
One of today’s hottest fashion trends is as much a part of the West Coast as sand, surf and sunshine: apparel that wears the label “Made in California.”
While more than 97 percent of apparel sold in the U.S. is manufactured overseas, according to the AAFA, domestic production is vitally important to many West Coast companies. Higher Chinese labor costs, long lead times for overseas production, the rise of fast fashion, and changes in consumer preferences have created new openings for California-made apparel.
Increased Rewards, Greater Risks
But what exactly is Made in California, and how do the risks and rewards compare to overseas sourcing? Take a closer look, and you’ll find major differences. Most imported production is sourced as “full package,” in which a company cuts a single PO to the overseas vendor and submits the tech-pack. The factory takes over from there, absorbing any changes in cost due to schedule, delivery and material quality.
With Made in California, a company’s responsibilities grow exponentially. Depending on the model, brands or retailers may be responsible for raw materials, in-transit goods and manufacturing processes including cutting, screen-printing, embroidery, sewing and more. Instead of a single PO, companies must manage multiple purchase orders and delivery dates. While production sourcing shifts the liabilities to vendors, Made in California assigns all the risks to the brand or retailer, from design through manufacturing. If the raw materials arrive late or damaged, production schedules slips or labor costs increase, it’s their responsibility.
The rewards of Made in California can be immense – rapid response to design trends, the flexibility to quickly change styles, more control over raw materials and components – but this increased complexity creates additional risks. After all, the higher the number of moving parts, the greater the chances of breakdown; and there are a lot more moving parts to manage when companies not only design, but manufacture as well. Read on »