If you were to objectively compare sourcing from Asia to sourcing from the Americas, what would be the score? Who would be favored? In fact, what would be the criteria measured?
Well, we know the answer – the first score was 3.5 for Asia, 3.1 for the Americas. How do we know? We asked, back in 2012.
Back in 2012, we asked senior veteran sourcing executives who had been actively sourcing from both Asia and the Americas for at least the past 3 years to answer some questions. We gave them 31 questions.
We asked them to give a score of 1 to 5 for each region and explain why, 31 times. These questions were created by John Strasburger, then a well known veteran sourcing executive at VF. Because it was John asking, those he asked to take the survey did a tremendous job.
When we saw the first results in late 2012, we realized we could not wait for our May 2013 Annual Conference to present them. So we created the AAPN Leadership Forum in November 2012, inviting 60 AAPN executive members to Panama, where VF hosted a presentation of the Report Card.
The 2012 results were:
West: 95.5 additive score, 3.1 average score, favored in 10 of 31 criteria
East: 107.3 additive score, 3.5 average score, favored in 21 of 31 criteria
The Panama Leadership Forum was explosive. No-one had ever seen numbers like this. They were far closer than we thought they might be. On top of that, the comments were extensive and hard. For the first time, we saw the score, the gaps, the challenges and for most, the opportunity.
Four years later, John ran the survey again. The results showed marked improvement in the West:
West: 95.5 rose to 107.3 additive score, 3.1 rose to 3.4 average score, and the West was still favored in 10 of 31 criteria
East: 107.3 rose to 107.7 additive score, 3.5 rose to 3.6 average score, and the East was still favored in 21 of 31 criteria
Clearly the Americas had closed the gap. Why? Because to AAPN supply chain executives, this was not a 'report', it was a highly targeted call to action. Read these comments by AAPN members resulting from the 2016 report:
- "Successful brands/retailers will be those that deftly connect the end consumer with the factory/supply chain and vice versa. This connectivity serves up the tools to solve the challenges the new math presents at retail.” – Juan Zighelboim, TexOps, El Salvador
- "Today, the best bet to service the market is to expand in the Western Region partnering with the companies that are investing in capacity expansion and diversifying it’s product lines to meet customers’ demand and market trends". — Jesus Canahuati, Elcatex, Honduras
Here is what is so interesting about the comments of these two executives in 2016. In that same year, 2016, these two and several others began working to make a joint investment, to close the gap specifically in the production of synthetic yarn in this hemisphere.
The result was the inauguration of the Utexa Synthetic Yarn Spinning operation in Honduras late in 2018. AAPN hosted an entire summit of 250 industry leaders in Honduras in late 2018 to tour this new facility.
Now it is 2020, four years since the last AAPN ASIA/AMERICAS REPORT CARD. This year's report will be managed by two of the most high profile executives in our industry:
Tony Anzovino, Chief Sourcing and Merchandising Officer, Haggar Clothing Company and Chairman, AAPN
Ed Gribbin, CEO of Gribbin Strategic and President, AAPN
Both executives are sending the surveys to their peers this week. The results will be a major agenda item at our 2020 pro:Americas Annual Conference. Click here to register.