Recently I had a good discussion with a buyer of a wide range of furniture (metal products, sofas, wood products…).
Ten years ago, they were sourcing 90% of their goods from China. (Maybe the fact that they had an office only in China helped, but they had trouble finding competitive prices in other countries.)
Now China’s share in their business has dropped to 50%.
For the European market they source more and more from Portugal and Eastern Europe, as well as Turkey. This “near sourcing” strategy allows them to cut lead times and to be more reactive.
It creates some new challenges for purchasers used to China sourcing. For example, European factories are not used to lab tests. They insist there is no need for those tests. But what to say when getting Reach compliance certificates (among others) is part of the big retailers’ procedure and it applies to products from all over the world
This problem is not likely to go away. End customers in Europe can ask a store for certain certificates, so retail chains will always need these pieces of paper.
As I noted previously on this blog, one big advantage of China suppliers is their ability to make the buyers’ lives easier…
February 6, 2015 by Renaud Anjoran