Late delivery of fabric leading to air shipment of apparel export orders is a nightmare to both the fabric suppliers and the hapless apparel exporter. Supply Chain Integrity of apparel business heavily depends on the timely delivery of fabric. Still, most of the fabric and garment manufacturers face this issue every now and then, finally resulting in the buyers’ demand of shipping the merchandise by air, or worse, cancellation of the order and slapping of stiff penalty.
Air shipment costs are prohibitively PERFORMANCE FABRIC expensive. One air shipment can wipe out the profit of several other orders and only makes the air cargo companies richer! Sometimes the air freight cost may go as high as 40 to 50 percent of the cost of garments. Further, the relationship among all three partners in this supply chain- the fabric supplier, garment exporter and the buyer gets affected, making future business difficult. Is there any foolproof solution?
After spending long years of association with the business of textiles in India & Far Eastern countries and coming across thousands of cases of late shipments and timely shipments, I could discover a more or less well defined pattern that determines whether a fabric shipment would go on-time or late.
Most interestingly, the fate is decided sometimes as early as during the finalization of the order and in other cases, during progress of the order. Contrary to popular beliefs, the earlier a problem develops, the more it becomes difficult to manage the timely delivery.
Each textile fabric order passes through a lengthy and unique process in many ways. Some of those are:
* Almost each order is tailor made, to the specific requirement which varies from order to order, even for the same product.
* Raw material standards vary from time to time. The same process/ methods/ technical conditions may not give the same result every time.
* Quality Approvals for many parameters like shades, hand-feel, surface appearance etc. may by subjective and conditional more than often.
* Once inside even the most modern machines, the behavior of textiles cannot be predicted always and results may vary due to even the slightest change in the internal and external ambiance even within the same process control route.
Those were just few of the challenges that can throw an order progression out of gear, finally requiring corrections and re-processing that can delay the delivery. The list is much longer and beyond the scope of this article. Yet, a few qualitative precautions can ensure minimum variations en-route, lower wastages of resources and time of both sides. Final result is timely deliveries and lowered cost. Here we go through each critical stage: