Virtual Factory Trips give you access to the Asia sourcing market amidst travel restrictions.
A year has already passed since the Covid-19 virus entered our lives and transformed them forever. The consequential changes of the global pandemic have revolutionized every sector across our private and business lives. New restrictions and habits have tested our ability to adapt and be resilient.
According to a recent survey from McKinsey, in just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. Undoubtedly, many adopted new strategies and practices to stay competitive in this new business and economic environment.
For example, as lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures continue to shape our daily lives, most businesses (and workers) worldwide have become accustomed to remote working. In this context, from education to retail, companies sought digital support to continue their activities with a sense of “normality”.
Digital Technologies to stay competitive
The digitization of data, information flow and communication has been gaining pace over the past decade. The Pandemic has only accelerated this trend. In the last year, we have even seen global live events going digital and conferences have followed suit. The 127th Canton Fair went digital earlier in the year, which on the face of it resulted in a more efficient, cost-effective and more sustainable trade fair – albeit not sure how beneficial it actually was to overseas buyers. Undoubtedly, with travel restrictions in place, companies have lost access to their suppliers and the markets that they buy from.
Being close to your suppliers is paramount, in whatever guise, to leverage the benefits of buying from Asia. Therefore, considering the current environment, we have launched some new solutions to keep our clients ‘close’ to their suppliers.
Virtual Factory Trips
As part of your Asia sourcing strategy, ET2C has been running ‘Virtual Buying Trips’. This initiative has already enabled our clients to both meet new suppliers as well as catch-up with your incumbents to discuss on-going projects and developments. We are facilitating this across multiple sites/countries ensuring that our staff are always on-site with the factories during these discussions.
Depending on your time zone, we have set-up and managed meetings with factories – bringing the factories to you! Also, we are taking clients to new factories via Zoom and Teams. Our staff are on-site and walk you through the production as well as play an integral part in the discussions with the factory management. No more long journeys or waiting for your train and all from the comfort of your own desk!
5 Advantages of Virtual Factory Trips
In the current situation, having visibility of what is going behind the Asian “curtain” beyond emails and calls is essential. We have been working with companies who are ‘locked-out’ and struggles to get sight of what is actually going on. We can address this by being on-site and able to address your needs as required.
2. Sourcing Penetration
Obviously, a lot of companies are wrestling with other challenges, like lockdowns, stores being closed, and e-comm capabilities. However, the Sourcing function also can play an important strategic role. Identifying new potential suppliers across new markets is an essential way to deliver cost competitiveness and mitigate risk. Our Virtual Factory trips can help you, even when you cannot travel access these markets and continue looking for new manufacturing opportunities.
3. Product Development
We all know that product development is much more efficient when you are sitting in the factory’s sample room. Without that access, it becomes a much more cumbersome process that involves countless emails, samples being sent back and forth across oceans (see below!) and a pinch of frustration layered over the whole process. We can help manage this through understanding your needs and being virtually with you as you go through the adjustments, drawings, trims and so on. A much more efficient way of operating!
Our Virtual Factory Trips also give our clients visibility – in some cases in real-time – of the quality assurance or control processes. This gives you more than just the report, and allows you to take a ‘closer look’ at elements that you are not happy with. As we have learnt in the past months, the ability to respond quickly to changing circumstances is essential going forward as demand remains elusive and supply challenging.
5. Virtual Samples
Loosely connected, but it is worth pointing out that we have our own in-house photographic capability. The in-house team can take high-quality photos of your samples, saving you both costs and time. Some of our clients are even already using the team to take their photos for marketing purposes. Give us a try!
Make yourself comfortable and start your factory trip!
We hope that this Pandemic will soon be brought under control. The new normal for Asia sourcing needs relies on an upstream capability being put in place as well as the use of technology to take you to the factory gates. More broadly, never has a ‘presence on the ground’ been more necessary and at ET2C we have a range of solutions to give our clients access to Asian markets. For all your sourcing needs, including Virtual Buying Trips and Factory Trips, please contact us at unlockAsia@et2cint.com .