Moving up the value chain is key to apparel industry’s future - LMD
In a paper produced by STING Consultants, extracts of which are
reproduced in the business magazine LMD, its May Cover Supplement notes
that “the long-term goal must surely be to reach out to consumers and
establish the unique value-added capabilities of Sri Lanka Apparel -
like, what the British did with Ceylon Tea many decades ago”.
LMD’s lead story also notes that “whilst the tea industry didn’t
foresee the value of branding at that time - and let the opportunity
slip - the apparel industry must now look to the future. Indeed, it is
leading the charge, by means of a highly differentiated brand strategy
in the global marketplace.”
Sri Lanka’s challenge, the magazine said, “to move up the value chain
- increasingly providing more intricate and complex apparel, whilst
ensuring that its manufacturing capabilities are the best in the world.”
But: “Yet, there is a need to be price-competitive, which means that
energy costs need to be low, transportation needs to be more efficient
and the industry still has to rely on globally competitive wages.”
According to LMD, the industry is now using the ‘Garments Without
Guilt’ tags on the sample clothing despatched to buyers the world over.
“The supporting marketing collateral is also being used by individual
manufacturers in their promotional initiatives. Plans are under way to
implement a viral marketing initiative on the Web.
In addition, the message has been disseminated through such as the
ILO and The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Summit. Further
initiatives are planned at environmental and social-responsibility fora,”
the journal said.
“The manner in which corporates do business is now directly linked to
their performance - which, in turn, impacts shareholders’ return on
Despite these factors, the apparel industry has to contend with the
relentless drive of buyers to obtain their supply requirements at the
lowest possible price. This is dictated by the need to continue to
improve margins to provide better returns,” LMD said.
“Consumers, too, are extremely price-conscious and shop for apparel
that provides the best value,” the cover story said, adding that
“maintaining an ethical manufacturing practice is not cheap.