Navigating The Supply Chain With Mary Cally
Hi Mary Hi Charles. I Catherine I thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it absolutely so you've worked for some huge companies and small companies as well and small companies. But you've you've dealt with very complicated supply chain so act. How do you conceive of them? In the most way I think the process for me. Obviously it's always an integrated process inside the company with Design Product Development Technical It all has to come together while I decide where we can source product. How it's going to be delivered. And the amount of time that it takes to deliver that product so basically. It's it's a coming together of all. These individuals sitting down discussing how we could manufacture this product the quality of it and the end result of what we're going to get. What are the biggest challenges? Brands are facing right now with supply chance right now. The virus obviously is the the biggest issue on the board Do they match by surprise? I think yes but I'm not quite sure about that. You know I think I think China unfortunately was not being quite honest when the incipient stages of this happened. Probably last October And I think those people that may have been more aware of this took an earlier stance and what they needed to do. Many of the companies that I've worked with Over the past several years have gone into other countries primarily because of pricing so for many companies right now. I'm finding that they diversify their Their chains in the last five to seven years to include Vietnam Cambodia India Indonesia so many other countries around the world it may not had the same effect that it would have if they were solely in China at this point Unfortunately it is what it is right now. I think many companies from what I've been reading. We're very quick to react and to get out of their situations I think from what I'm hearing more it really and from what I'm dealing with now. It affected more textile mills even than more of the manufacturing aspect of it. I feel that some of these companies were able to change quickly into a factory is the textiles that were an issue many of them. And you know right now. Many of these factories have gone back to work. But they're still missing many of the workers because some of course are marooned insider their own cities in China. They traveled home for the holidays. Basically yes and then. They weren't able to get back to them in courtrooms correct. I just WANNA say so. That's textile manufacturing. That's a problem in China but now also in in Italy Italy as well. Yeah in more of the luxury markets. It's more of problem in Italy I've had friends that. Unfortunately you really rough situation right now. With THEIR MANUFACTURING. Do this or you in touch with the people running factories in these countries. Yes what are they saying? You know a again. It's it's devastating to many of them. Obviously they're losing a great deal of business you're losing time and money obviously is the key issue here and as I said I think most of them at this point have tried to diversify have tried to look for other options in order to satisfy the textile aspect or the factory. A part of the equation so It's still a difficult issue for many of them. Is The textile supply chain that Short. No you always have alternatives. I think anybody that's really looked at their supply chains over the last few years have taken into consideration. Things like this could happen so China is still a very big player in the business but as I said. Previously many people have moved away from it in many ways is just really the textile part. I find that more people have Have had this issue with. Are they worried about getting sick? Oh I think it's illness is number one. I think it's a priority for most people at this point and again with some of the workers in these mills. They don't WanNa come back even if they're able to come back some of them don't WanNa come back because they are afraid. And it's understandable so looking at what's happening now in thinking in the long term. There are a lot of things not just apparel that we are in need of relying on other countries for so. Does this make you feel as if there will be a bigger concentration on trying to develop a strong supply chain here? Yes I think I think some business will come back here. I was just reading an article. Recently there is a Chinese manufacturer that has invested heavily actually in Arkansas to develop a mill as well as a facility tobacco and interesting. But it's robotics and that was t shirt manufacturer. Yes that's right. With the so bought from data correct correct yeah and what was quoted. As far as pricing it would take seven dollars and some change to to develop a t shirt here Using a human basically in a factory The way they broke down. It would be thirty three cents basically in labor costs so the the big difference here of course is the upfront cost of robotics. And how you going to this into a factory here in that location where they built. The factory is within a couple of hours drive of most of the American population. That's correct yes. So the these are all things on the forefront that I find so fascinating and then I think will be the the industry going forward. There's been a resurgence in what we used to call eight. Oh seven which has been Caribbean Basin. Where they used to really require a huge quantities of to manufacturer. With now you're finding. They're taking much smaller quantities to be back in the game so that's another interesting aspect also so the factories in the Caribbean being opened to smaller. Lots yes yes for textiles or putting solar both both actually. Some of them are vertical. And some of them really. It's GonNa be again what we used to call eight. Oh seven process was fabric either from here or from overseas and then being cut and then being sewn there but I'm more of them or more vertical now than ever before what we're about number comprom- is like a trade number It's very article very very much articles for my read that I do have districts. Ticks in front of me. The number eight seven was oh. That was years ago. That was the old definition of for Caribbean Basin Otx and years ago when government was deciding on duty. Free in different aspects of how to Bring goods outside of the country but save on duty rates It was a number that was given for that particular type of manufacturing. Okay W you know nobody. Nobody calls at eight. Oh seven anymore. It's just Caribbean basin. Basically analogy you think that they're concentrating more on on smaller Lot Manufacturing not is not very small. Still a good sizable but years ago. When we used to do manufacturing there you had to have at least ten thousand twenty thousand units to be able to do that. I understand now. They're willing to take three thousand units which is substantially less and also. The businesses changed so much to I think along with just the whole business model of how perilous Distri has become Lots are much less than what they used to be. Okay so I was. I wanted to know if you're familiar with Cala which is a alcohol at a manufacturing plant a platform where you can go and have developed. How do you see these platforms that are developing compared to men you know companies that did private-label before or like bigger companies like Liam Fun? Like where where where the benefits I think the benefit from what? I'm understanding from Cala. They're really geared more towards much smaller companies. People that are really just starting out with smaller quantities. What I don't understand about some of these Technological companies that have come along. What is the back office work of it who is doing the QC? Who is qualifying factories? You can't just use an agent who sourcing for you without having your own boots on the ground really to understand what the factory is manufactured for you and what their limitations are so. That's one of the things that I always have to question. When I see a lot of techno companies come in that want to do these types of things. I think it's wonderful thing for the future. I think it's very needed You cannot compare this to a lien fun because of size. Basically a is a whole different animal. lien-fong when I was there at the bare minimum they would take was fifty thousand units to start off a label. So a company like this as I've been learning Basically we'll take very small units and whatever they consider very large units as well so it's a very different type of business. I think it's wonderful for young people who wanted to start a business on their own. But don't have the wherewithal don't have a background in the industry or the knowledge of design or production it. It's a great facility to have but I always have questions about these things. And who has the expertise within that business to really run the back end of it? Production Sourcing Quality Control The shipping aspect of it as well. You've worked for these huge fashion companies. What do they usually do right that the small brands get wrong? And what did they do wrong? That a small brands tend to get right very good question. I think what they do right is they do have enough personnel in place. First of all to be able to handle situations that arise in quality in production itself in sourcing In design and product development. They have the ability because of the financial Structure to be able to have the correct personnel. I can find many times with these smaller companies. they may lack The finances to be able to afford the correct people Enough people to be able to handle the situation or have enough expertise themselves to understand what the pitfalls might be. I I over think situations. Sometimes I've been told but I rather be always careful and do as much due diligence as I can before you make any type of commitments. So I think you need to have that understanding when you're doing any type of manufacturing what do you typically do during a day at one of these big companies? What what's your role. Well there's always meals in the morning that's your first thing. There's always a problem. You know. Production I always say always says issues. You never get away from it. There were so many people that are involved in the supply chain in any aspect of doing any type of product. That it's it's it's it's like an orchestra away just being able to put everything together and have it flow so emails of the first thing in the morning understanding what issues have to be taken care of that day interfacing with everybody in the office that needs to be attended to for whatever issues. They may be having and they're always meetings every day for development of product of for design aspect. Again there may be issues with fabric With the quality of the product what the factory is capable of doing so those are all different aspects of what could happen in a day. I always say you never. There's always a new problem no matter how many years you know. I always say to. I learned something new every day. There's always some new problem I've never faced before I will face that day and you just don't know and that's how you learn basically learn from all these different problems and.