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Growing need for agile super vendors in Africa's apparel industry

African clothing manufacturers have to become super vendors to reduce lead times and cost better to handle more styles, cater to in-season change and improve the top line and bottom line of their businesses. This is the assertion of Anas Shakil, head of emerging geographies and senior partner at garment tech company ThreadSol.
©Robert Przybysz via 123RF
ThreadSol participated in the Origin Africa 2018 event held in Kenya earlier this month, where it presented its software solutions intelloCut and intelloBuy, which promises to reduce planning time by almost 80%, and reduce fabric sourcing cost by acting on data and insights.

After marking its presence in 15 countries, the company is set to explore the African apparel industry with an aim to transform manufacturers to 'super vendors'.

“The current global sourcing trends are based on 3 major things. Trend injection - the reactive approach of the brand to competition’s product range. Read and react - small SKUs to test market response. And in-season chase - revise manufacturing POs to focus on fast-selling goods,” says Suhrud Panigrahi, key account manager at ThreadSol.

“A super vendor is a manufacturer who can work upon these trends by not only controlling costs of manufacturing, but also innovate the products to take pressure off the brands. Another compelling characteristic of a super vendor is to postpone or disrupt the order bookings for reactive trend injections,” explains Panigrahi.

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According to ThreadSol, since the requirements of high and fast sourcing models are on a rise, which aims at a smaller lead time and shorter order runs, it's becoming difficult for countries like Bangladesh to keep up with these trends. The same can happen in Africa, the company says, if manufacturers do not act towards becoming a super vendor.
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