(Pinky Malaviya Fafadia, 2008) Cost, quality or lead time has always been a puzzle forthe apparel retailers outsourcing from parts across the globe. It is difficultto label any one factor as the prime factor for sourcing. Sourcing is acomplicated process and cost, quality and lead time are all important aspects;unquestionably reliant on the product and demand.
The importance is based onthe nature of product, the requirement of the company, and the target customer.Says Mr. Howard Lucas (CEO- Kahn &Lucas Lancaster Inc.) the first preferredfactor is quality, followed by cost and lead time.
Quality of product sets theimage for a company. While it is not always necessary to be the least expensiveor fastest to market, apparel companies must always ship high quality product.Many of the retailers have extensive testing programs in place and anysubstandard components will most likely result in the cancellation of a style.If a company is manufacturing under a national brand, it can “make orbreak” its brands image with the consumer based on quality. Whereas, forGary Simmons (President & CEO, Gerber Children Wear)cost is a primary factor for outsourcing; but he also mentions that just threefactors are not sufficient to determine the terms for sourcing. Other factorslike political stability of the country, infrastructure, compliance etc areequally important. Bridget McDaniel (Assistant Buyer, Designer Sportswear- QVC)says it’s difficult to rate anyparticular factor as all are important.
Based on their company’s products,which are sold online, they have to be very meticulous about quality, and beingcompetitive cost is equally important; so is lead- time as they have to assurefaster delivery to the buyer. Ingeneral, all the three parameters of an apparel product cost, quality andlead-time are correlated. Quality defines the life and durability of theproduct. If the quality is poor and the cost of the product is high, sellingthe product becomes a biggest challenge. Meanwhile, paying high cost to get theproduct that cannot meet the saleperiod can convert huge loss to the retailer