Today’s fashion chief executives are facing increasing challenges. With dismal high street sales, a strong euro and a recession on the horizon, they need to think and sell globally to stay ahead of the game.
Export sales can compensate for some of the losses in the UK, with extra help from exchange rates. But before benefiting from unknown territories, chief executives need to choose their distribution channels accordingly, manage a shorter and more risky product cycle and make more efforts to keep retailers faithful.
They will also be concerned with issues such as how to organise their supply chain, financing, how to lower the inventory and costs and how to shorten the supply lead time. Branded businesses will need to focus on how to select customers (especially abroad), and how to optimise their payments. Surviving a recession is not easy, but lowering overheads and maintaining sales while still keeping control of product seems to be best practice by those who have survived throughout the years.
However, there are some activities where it is not possible for a company to provide best-in-class service levels by itself, such as logistics, credit management and transport. And you cannot grow and conquer new clients and territories if you do not have the right platform. One solution is to outsource such activities.
Working with the right outsourcing partner can bring a flexibility which has tremendous value in a changing market. It allows a company to grow fast, especially in areas where it does not feel ready to build heavy fixed structures. It is all about gaining competitive advantage at a lower cost, ultimately generating more profits and increasing value for the brand.
Nicole Strebler is managing director of logistics and distribution company FDI Logbox International, northern Europe