Building Better Buyer_______Sourcing Bridges
Longstanding is the issue of equality between the supply chain and its retail organisation/buying brain. Influencing the brand side of the business consistently ranks as a top requirement for leadership talent in global sourcing. The gap between both sides of the enterprise continues to bottleneck efforts towards positive collaboration.
With international mobility at nil, we lose critical relationship-building opportunities that creates bridges and drives reciprocality. Empathetic Equity is the force behind mutually determined outcomes and this equity is under serious threat when we’re not able to rub shoulders. From 7000 miles away it’s easier to look at the global sourcing organisation like numbers in a spreadsheet.
When Empathetic Equity levels drop our ability to exercise and unlock change is dampened. Retail organisations and their supply chains need cadence now more than ever, we need more Supply Chain Ambassadors lobbying for Asian based sourcing organisations in the headquarters.
I’ve previously stated that the Head of Asia Sourcing needs a direct line to the CEO we also need in this period of time to mandate a key account manager placed inside of global headquarters providing a direct line of sight into the retail business, championing collaboration by building empathetic equity points. This Account Manager needs to be under the budget of global sourcing, but their purpose needs to be made clear with brand partners and they should already have worked both sides. This bridge to mediate, maintaining a high level of neutrality working towards mutual outcomes.
Sustainability as a Currency
Bear with me, the mechanics of this are a work in progress. The greatest incentive of all is fiscal one, an equal first hurdle for sustainability is the consumer sensitivity towards price, especially in periods of financial uncertainty.
Brands across apparel and non-fashion retail can drive the agenda of sustainability by creating exclusivity, exclusivity earned. Not relative to purchasing power, but sustainability or community power.
Putting it into action
A retailer or an ecosystem of retailers collaborates with government & non-profit entities to develop a form of currency or points system based on “give back” schemes, fiscal donations, time (volunteering) donations. Currency earned and contributions made unlock accessibility to a certain sustainability status/level. The “status” earns optional discount or rebate abilities when purchasing with ecosystem retailers. Optional discounts or rebate accessible for all, but marketed toward those with less purchasing power (yes it’s flawed, but I’d like to believe that anyone opting into the program is sustainability-driven rather than price motivated).
The value of any currency fluctuates and in this instance as more retailers and individuals opt into the program the value of “new points” issued adjusts accordingly.
The marketability and stickiness of sustainability is ripe for the next level of disruption