Kurt Salmon has launched the 12th edition of the Global Sourcing Reference.

Increases of sourcing costs in China and other important sourcing markets, currency fluctuations, political turbulence and increasing social challenges – these factors are transforming sourcing activities to a turbulent roller coaster ride with many ups and downs. Facing the strong cost increases from traditional key sourcing markets, brands and retailers are increasingly searching for alternatives in their global sourcing portfolios which allow them to protect gross margins while maintaining key requirements of quality, specialist capabilities, innovation, and corporate social responsibility.

It therefore comes as no surprise that, as part of this year´s Global Sourcing Executive Survey, the key concerns mentioned have been increasing labour cost, unfavourable development of currency exchange rates in combination with demand market price pressure on margins. At the same time, fashion companies are facing the strong need to move closer to markets when developing ranges to maintain competitiveness in a fast paced market environment with quickly changing trends and low predictability. But without sacrificing product innovation and quality, and social compliance for pure speed which would put uniqueness and character of the brand at risk. Although this forces companies to massively adjust their traditional sourcing strategies, it also is an opportunity to enter new high-potential sourcing regions, shorten transport routes and reduce the dependency on China as the number one production country. More than ever differentiated supply chains with the ability to flexibly prioritise speed, cost, and innovation based on true range and consumer needs are the key tools for successful product development and sourcing operations.

The 12th Edition of the Kurt Salmon Global Sourcing Reference analyses current trends and developments in textile and clothing sourcing across 46 of the most important sourcing markets worldwide down to product group level. Besides addressing macro-economic trends and their influence on sourcing strategies, the study also looks at established sourcing markets and evaluates the potential of new, aspiring regions including their opportunities and risks. The reference covers all European as well as US American sourcing countries, complemented by detailed expert interviews and comprehensive surveys with former decision makers in textile sourcing.

For more information and to discuss the key findings of the report contact Sue Butler at sue.butler@kurtsalmon.com