Trying to resolve the WYSIWYG dilemma
By Carole Sloan, founding editor-in-chief -- Home Textiles Today, 7/28/2003 12:00:00 AM
It was an interesting Showtime in High Point, NC, earlier this month.
The given was that business wasn't good, but no one was tearing their hankies to shreds. There seemed to be a slight uptick in the offing, based on incoming retailer and cut-and-sew manufacturer and jobber orders.
And new placements at Showtime appeared to indicate that something better — not necessarily good — might be brewing.
But the biggest buzz was centered around the proliferation of companies from Asia — China especially. Not only were there the veteran Chinese pros — with all of five to eight years experience — but also the real newcomers of just-born to a year or so in terms of dealing with the American market.
The temporary spaces were chock-a-block full of company names that were new to many of the buyers walking those halls. Issues relating to quality, delivery and fidelity to the color/pattern/construction of a given item were raised by many shopping the lines.
"Is what we see what we actually get?" was one of the ever-present questions. And this is the critical challenge for the American companies to resolve, whether cut and sew or fabric suppliers. The horror stories are getting more horrible. But at the same time, there are those whose diligence in working through these problems are paying off for them.
I'm hearing more and more people asking what gets done with the stuff a customer cancels. Who pays? There's the question of whether the blue or green or red in whatever the product is consistent within the same shipment. Or even more serious: How does one return flawed fabric or product across the big water?
These are situations that the American manufacturing community as well as retailers — not just in the home textiles world — will be juggling for years to come. They cannot be ignored even in the face of what is turning out to be an omnipresent concern — the lifting of quotas in 2005. Yes, they are related, but quality of business operations are paramount, quotas or no.
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