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Sourcing Sorcery: How Product Sourcing Targets Supply Chain Challenges


Supply chain visibility and control are key to growing your business but effectively managing a global supply chain is not for the faint of heart! However, it doesn’t have to make sourcing managers lose sleep at night. The right strategies and technologies can ensure your company makes sourcing decisions based on reliable data and optimized processes.

Compliance, compression and capacity

With every passing year, new regulations are added to trade arrangements by governments and regulatory bodies. It has become increasingly difficult to track these and stay compliant, and many companies employ extra resources to make sure they stay on the right side of the law.

Margin compression is a huge challenge, particularly in an era where customers have so much purchasing choice. Price factors highly in purchasing decisions, making it harder to raise retail prices. With production costs rising, companies need strategies to stay lean and reduce the total cost of goods.

Sourcing managers also have to consider capacity constraints in factories. China is by far the world’s largest producer of consumer goods, but Chinese manufacturers are producing more and more goods for domestic markets. Apparel brands are competing for capacity and increasingly looking for new manufacturers in regions such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Ethiopia to produce all or part of their collections.

Centric PLM - Sourcing

Strategies to tackle sourcing challenges

Real-time collaboration is the number one strategy to help companies address these sourcing challenges. People now work from anywhere in the world at any time. We expect real-time communication in our personal lives and get frustrated when we don’t experience it in our professional lives.

This is especially true in the fashion and consumer goods industries, where goods are usually manufactured thousands of miles away from the design office. Combining real-time collaboration with mobility offers the opportunity to access and enter data anywhere, any time. It’s critical that real-time collaboration takes place on a unified platform with a single source of the truth.

To address the regulations issue, companies need a way to easily deal with compliance challenges using factory audits, vendor compliance, vendor scoring and quality assurance. As this information must be updated regularly and available in a format that is easy to access, it’s important to be able to maintain compliance data on a single digital platform.

Just like consumers, more and more suppliers have a choice when it comes to deciding who they want to work with. Improving your transparency, becoming closer to your suppliers and maintaining accurate and real-time collaboration is key to optimized product sourcing.

Sourcing on a single platform

Companies without a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution live in a world of Excel spreadsheets and emails. Not only is that very time-consuming and inefficient, but it poses significant challenges to version control and visibility.

Centric PLM™ provides real-time, accurate data, representing a single source of the truth. Team members can access data from anywhere in the world, enabling immediate collaboration across time zones and removing seat-of-the-pants decision-making based on outdated information.

Centric’s Product Sourcing PLM module makes it possible to manage compliance documents, supplier performance, sample tracking and audits on a single platform. The ability to create costing ‘what-if’ scenarios in Centric’s digital sandbox reveals the impact of decisions about factories, materials and other variables on the total cost of ownership without having to commit to a course of action.

Centric PLM - Sourcing

Better supplier relationships

Clearer visibility makes it easier to spot the most cost-effective suppliers and split orders across suppliers. Using Product Sourcing makes your company more attractive for suppliers to work with, as improved transparency and reliability can make you the ‘buyer of choice’ and ensure continued availability of production capacity. Suppliers can connect to the system to enhance collaboration with internal teams.

Centric PLM adds ground breaking high-volume sourcing capabilities for brands, retailers and multi-category retailers that co-design and source finished products from suppliers. Users can issue design briefs to many suppliers and agents simultaneously, gather and iterate designs in Centric 8, and seamlessly launch development. This leads to a dramatic increase in product innovation and the number of products launched.

You no longer have to make critical decisions based on outdated spreadsheets and fly blind when working with suppliers. Centric’s PLM experts have dedicated considerable resources and experience to understanding the unique sourcing challenges for fashion, retail and consumer goods companies so that sourcing managers everywhere can rest easy!