Supply Chain Management and Textile Industry of Pakistan

September 25, 2006 at 12:00 am | Posted in Arsalan's Dawn Article | 1 Comment


In a world where there is no restriction on technology transfer, the area of logistics and supply chain management becomes the key competitive factor in global manufacturing business. The war to optimize the supply chain in enterprises is being fought nowadays between global companies and regions. New and latest technology gadgets are used for this purpose. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the coordinated set of techniques to plan and execute all steps in the global network used to acquire raw materials from vendors, transform them into finished goods, and deliver both goods and services to customers. It includes chain-wide information sharing, planning, resource synchronization and global performance measurements. 

The overall objective of the SCM is to reduce the lead time and cost of the product.

In saturated markets, like textiles, the issue of lead time is of great importance. It is the main driving factor for business profitability.

The elements of the Supply Chain Management includes informational sharing of demand, efficient planning and management of logistics, transportation of raw materials, availability of better infrastructure of roads and railways, availability of proper warehouses to store goods, inventory planning and controlling for optimized solutions, availability of enhanced maritime physical infrastructure, highly efficient planning and controlling of ports and shipments.

These all elements contribute to lower the lead time of the value chain and also the associated cost.

International companies in all trades are spending a lot of resources to enhance the SCM of their firms. They are spending millions to enhance SCM in order to become competitive in the market. The company which has the best SCM capabilities has the leading competitive advantage in the market.

Now talking about the world trends in textile and fashion business, the reality is that the lead time is shrinking day by day.

There are a lot of textile fashion brands like LEVIS, CK, GAP, DIOR, M&S, etc which sought manufacturing of its products from countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China. The fashion cycles of these brands are mainly once or twice per year. Making it possible to some extent for Pakistani market to respond to their lead time.

Until a decade before a young Spanish brand ZARA appeared in European markets. ZARA entered into market with an aim to reduce the fashion cycle and cover a mass market by highly reducing the cost. Nowadays ZARA’s fashion cycle accounts for 2 weeks. Meaning that after 2 weeks the product and fashion changes from the shelves and new fashion is introduced.

ZARA created a culture of fashion consciousness among greater masses as prices are affordable to ordinary people. It has given a trend that everybody liked to change fashion quickly as long as it is available cheap.

Looking into this change, other volume selling brands like H&M, M&S, Levis, CK, Nike also began to race with ZARA’s ideology to provide short fashion cycle at reduce costs. Thus a war of lead time and price is started. This is the real post quota scenario to which many manufacturing countries and industries previously equipped themselves.

But the question is who bear all the burden of this fashion consciousness behavior of western market. Obviously, the manufacturers and suppliers.

This created a new and advanced demand and supply market. A market where each key player has collaborative efforts with its suppliers and share each and every consumer market information and risks. The supplier has access to state of the art planning systems, manufacturing systems and SCM which provide confidence to the buyer and compels him to have long term buying contracts.

Pakistan meet the present and future lead time demand and price of western markets?

Unfortunately, Pakistani textile industry was not and never prepared for this scenario. Following important issues are worth mentioning in this case;

Despite of having latest computerized manufacturing machines; there is no production and inventory planning systems available.

Talking of the human factor, majority of the industrial planning is done by illiterate and less educated persons holding the position of manager, mainly due to presumed cost saving reasons by executives. Even in the available educational institutions related to industry and textile, less emphasis is given to SCM issue on practical grounds.

This arising fashion situation in western markets created frequently changing short run orders. This has lot of impact and burden on plannings. If there are not any qualified and well educated managers and no proper planning systems (ERP systems), the result will be high cost of operation and late deliveries.

The stake of warehousing is also at alarming level. Not talking of quality deterioration, these warehouses are also a sink of resources. Inventory level planning is also an issue here.

The available roads infrastructure is a major element of SCM. Pakistani government has spent a lot of money in improving this infrastructure and is continuously upgrading the roads and highways which is a better sign for the SCM of textile value chain. Railway logistic infrastructure is not so better in this regard with lot of delays in operation and transportation.

The situation of maritime is also alarming. With few and old flag ship carriers; majority of the export is dependent on foreign ships. The stake of operational capabilities at harbors is quite poor with containers lying for days and days before they are transported to concerned ships. The available terminals have less capacity and infrastructure to cope with the incoming containers and result is the lying of containers in port for days on trucks. Again increasing the customer response time and increasing costs. Todate
Pakistan has no deep sea container terminal to handle large vessels. International Shipping companies are frequently changing their vessels to bigger-size vessels, which could accommodate large volumes of containers. Unfortunately these bigger vessels could not serve current Pakistani ports. This increases the maritime cost and time.

With all of the above factors, Pakistani textile industry is loosing its competitiveness in international market. The buyers are getting a response of low service quality thus reducing their confidence to do business with Pakistani industry. In this stage Pakistani industry could neither meet the lead time demand of highly profitable textile and fashion products nor could meet the low price expectation of western markets.

Under these circumstances, the western buyers hesitate to have its high value product manufactured and share market risk with Pakistani manufacturers and exporters.

Despite of having state of the art machineries and access to capital, Pakistani textile industry is compelled to constantly manufacture and export raw, non seasonal and low value textile products where high capital is required to manufacture at extremely less margins. Thus reducing overall competitiveness in the region.

Supply Chain Management should be the key focus to enhance competitiveness of existing Pakistani textile industry and can help
Pakistan to enter in the arena of high value textile markets. Besides, industrial survival strategies initiated by Pakistani government could then only be effective and fruitful.


1 Comment »

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  1. Now the time of global manufacturing technology.
    see more on Kaizen

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