So, Now What Are You Going to Do? When It Rains, It Pours


Consultants Corner News Consulting Manufacturing Clothing



 By:  Bruce S. Berton

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.

I 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.

You have to solve your own problems, and map out the strategy that you feel is best for you:

  1. Really look at what you, as a firm, represent to your customers in the marketplace.
  2. Find all the positives and make sure your customers really understand your strengths and capabilities.
  3. Realize that service, fashion, on-time delivery, or professionalism in quality production of product all come before the lowest price.
  4. Be aware that you are not the only one facing the above stated problems.
  5. Come up with researched plans to deliver and discuss these issues with your customers. They may know of other ways to solve your problems.
  6. 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 problems.
  7. Bring in professional help that might not be available within your own organization to help  resolve issues.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 trans-shipping?
  10. 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 your success.

We 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.

As 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
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