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Challenges in Global Textile and Apparel Sourcing: Focus on Li & Fung
published in Issue 124, July-August 2006
Hong Kong-based Li & Fung is regarded as the market leader in sourcing consumer goods. Its customer base comprises the leading retailers in 100 markets across all continents. It has a 100-year tradition as a trading company, and has gone through different strategic phases over time. Today, it has established a highly successful business model which turns the challenges of a complex and fast changing environment into opportunities. One measure of the company’s success is the growth in its sales and profits. Between 1992 and 2005 its sales increased at a compound annual growth rate of 22% per annum while its net profits rose by an annual 23%.
Li & Fung’s main strategic advantage is its ability to manage a large network of vendors and suppliers across traditional and newly upcoming sourcing markets in a way which creates significant efficiencies for the benefit of its customers. The company manages the flow of raw material and finished goods through a process which it calls “borderless manufacturing”. This concept enables Li & Fung to meet the requirements of its customers in terms of quality, cost price, product development and speed to market.
Li & Fung sources about 46% of its apparel and hard goods from China. In apparel alone, however, Li & Fung’s sourcing base is more diversified. In fact South-East Asia and Bangladesh are as important as China for Li & Fung when sourcing apparel. Furthermore, rising costs are likely to make China even less important in the future.
Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of expert comment and analysis. A subscription provides an overview of the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. It is essential reading for senior executives in the fibre, textile and apparel industries – and for anyone who is not involved in the industry, but needs to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues.
Reports in Textile Outlook International include:
country profiles – providing a comprehensive guide to the textile and clothing industries in a range of countries and regions. The reports include an economic and political profile together with a comprehensive overview of the main issues, plus an outlook for the future.
company profiles – giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others. Companies profiled recently include retailers, manufacturers, innovators and sourcing companies involved in textiles and apparel as well as smaller companies which illustrate the opportunities for firms which are interested in selected sourcing locations.
trends in world textile and apparel trade and production – taking into account current issues facing the industry – such as global fibre prices; competition from China and other low cost countries; the elimination of quotas and imposition of selective new ones; relocation of production operations; the impact of economic factors affecting trade; international trade agreements; trade promotion agreements (TPAs); and much more.
trends in EU and US imports of textiles and clothing – providing comprehensive statistical data and analysis of the top ten supplying countries to the EU and US markets. These reports are updated each year and contain value and volume data as well as average prices and analyses of trends for up to 15 product categories.
innovations, technological developments, business development opportunities, individual sector analysis and political implications which affect players in the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. Some of the topics which have been covered in recent reports include: new innovations in the textile and clothing industry, such as environmentally friendly textiles, plant based fibres, and developments in textile colorants; innovations in textile machinery; and overviews of the European swimwear, hosiery and lingerie markets.
So whether you are involved in fibres, textiles or clothing – in manufacturing, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, import/export, retailing – or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance, a subscription to Textile Outlook International will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
Textile Outlook International is available on subscription – either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 6 printed publications a year, containing a total of 30 reports plus editorials written by Robin Anson, our editorial director and in-house industry expert.
Electronic supplement If you choose the printed and electronic option, you will receive an extra service. You will still receive each issue in printed format, delivered to you by traditional post.
In addition, you will be able to download PDF files containing the same information – but the PDF files will be available immediately on publication, so you don’t have to wait for the printing and mailing. You also have all the benefits of electronic files: instant access even when you are away from the office; convenient storage in your PC or laptop; portability; electronic search facility; and copy/paste facility.
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"I have been subscribing to Textile Outlook International for over 15 years now and have found it to be a constant source of essential data and information to help track trends around the world and put together the projections which have aided our decisions on where and when to enter or focus more on particular markets. The country and company profiles are always well written and informative and the highlights make it easy to read and recap."