Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your recent article entitled “Not Dead Yet — American Apparel Industry Calls For Consortium” [October 2005]. Not only was it well written and timely, it reminds me of one of the funniest scenes in any Monty Python movie. I am a true fan!
Mike and Sue at the AAPN have done a tremendous job in presenting the challenges faced by our industry in Central America, not only in the post DR/CAFTA world but also in the years leading up to the passage of this important measure. While AAPN does not lobby to pass trade legislation, they provide an invaluable service to all those in our industry who see Central America as a great place to make apparel and footwear products. You are absolutely correct when you say that the apparel supply chain in this hemisphere is full of smart, capable and creative people. The next step is for these leaders to show leadership and take advantage of the continuing, interdependent relationship that has been forged with the passage of DR/CAFTA.
I spoke several weeks ago in Honduras where my message was very direct and simple. Work to implement DR/CAFTA or else your business will be going east. I believe that Mike and Sue have sent the same message to their membership. DR/CAFTA is a unique opportunity for the apparel and footwear industries in Central America to compete head-to-head with China and remain a key source of clothing and footwear for retailers across the globe. The work done by our friends at the AAPN goes hand-in-hand with the work performed by the AAFA. We all want the same thing — a competitive and growing apparel and footwear industry in this hemisphere for many years to come.
Again, your article was terrific.
Kevin M. Burke
President and CEO
American Apparel & Footwear Association
I read your article in Apparel Magazine this morning and believe the AAPN members are on to something. However, as you clearly state, it will require a major culture change. I have been involved in several joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions. And anyone that has gone through one of these knows first-hand the issues they will face.
My primary focus these days is on business process improvement (BPI) as it relates to product lifecycle management (PLM) and supply chain management (SCM). I am always contacted by the retailers to conduct BPI studies where the largest problems are always at the factories. The factories don’t understand that to a large degree, their survival depends on manufacturing efficiencies. However, the retailers they manufacture products for are slowly getting the message.
The small to medium U.S. garment manufacturer is only one large order away from going out of business. A really bad retailer’s quarterly report could easily be that conk over the head. Bringing these facilities together with some BPI efficiencies could revitalize the industry and allow it to compete head-to-head with Asia.
Vice President of Business Development
Say More About China’s Impact on Western Hemisphere
The following is in response to the article you wrote: “U.S.-China Trade Deal Could Be Imminent” [“The Apparel eNewsletter” and www.apparelmag.com, posted Aug. 18]. It was a very interesting article, which hits quite close to home. But my question is: I read a lot about China and how China is suffering because of all this, yet I have not read or seen any articles that discuss how the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua or Colombia, just to name a few countries on this side of the world, are being affected. You write about how Asia is suffering and that numerous amounts of plants have had to shut down, but it seems to me that in actuality the greatest amount of work is being produced in Asia, mainly China, and that countries in Central and South American as well as in the Caribbean are only getting the leftovers or unwanted scraps. I would really like for someone to research and address how this has so greatly affected this side of the world, how so many plants have had to shut down and how the unemployment rate has risen as a result of this situation.
Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to reading future articles.
Sales and Marketing Manager
Georgia Apparel Dominicana