Every day we are reading about additional categories being added to the
Safeguard Quota list, the threat of a 27
% additional tariff on all China
imports, whether or not the CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement will be passed, or
whether there will be additional fuel charges on most logistical handling of
freight not to mention the anti-dumping cases
being prepared on specific market disruption issues, additional tariffs the
EU has put onto our textile/apparel exports, and the huge issue of
transshipping legalities, which I hope you will be able to avoid.
could go on and on with all of these real life dramas and try to be a genie
that foresees the future, but I have been around too long and I know that
there are too many other political issues at stake that might take all of
the forecasting and throw it out the window.
have to solve your own problems, and map out the strategy that you feel is
best for you:
Really look at what
you, as a firm, represent to your customers in the marketplace.
Find all the
positives and make sure your customers really understand your strengths
service, fashion, on-time delivery, or professionalism in quality
production of product all come before the lowest price.
Be aware that you
are not the only one facing the above stated problems.
Come up with
researched plans to deliver and discuss these issues with your
customers. They may know of other ways to solve your problems.
Look inside your own
organization and take a hands on reality check as to whether you have
the correct employees in the right positions to assist in solving these
professional help that might not be available within your own
organization to help resolve issues.
Someone once said,
Knowledge is everything. We are all in a learning process, and we
should sometimes go back to basics for a refresher course.
For you importers
who are all caught up in the quota issues, remember that you will start
hearing some low quotes from importer brokers and countries that
normally are not in your particular category. Need I say more about
There are many
countries to be sourced, and there are many levels of retail to sell, so
you might have to make many changes in your strategy; however, remember
that it is always raining somewhere in the world, and there is always
something you can do about it.
Being flexible, being in the know, having the guts to make decisions, being
willing to work harder, and having the team you need will be the keys to
have just passed Memorial Day, and I can assure you that all of your
business problems and stress cannot compare to the soldier in Iraq, with the
daily problem of just going from one place to another.
I stated earlier, we are always in a learning mode, and there are changes
going on constantly. The professionals in the Stonefield Josephson Apparel
Group have over 100 years of experience, and we know all of the pieces that
must be in place to run a successful apparel company. Whether you are large
or small and trying to reach a profitable next level, let us advise you on
the proper methodology and identifying the risks involved, to help you reach
your goals and objectives.
Bruce S. Berton is a business and management consultant with Stonefield
Josephson, Inc., a leading regional consulting and accounting firm with
offices in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Mexico City.
The information in this column is of a general nature. Readers
inquiries are welcome; and may be sent to Bruce Berton, at Stonefield
Josephson, Inc., 2049 Century Park East Suite 400 Los Angeles,
California 90067 310-432-7437 Direct
866-225-4511 Toll Free
310-432-7519 Fax Los Angeles
Hong Kong, or send an e-mail to: