(Figure source: USITC 2016 Shifts in US Merchandise Trade)
The value and future of apparel “Made in the USA”
#1 What are the primary obstacles in bringing apparel manufacturing back to the United States? Why or why not the labor cost is a detrimental factor?
#2 Shall policymakers encourage “jobless recovery” in the U.S. apparel manufacturing sector—meaning using more machines to make apparel but with empty factory floors?
#3 If apparel manufacturing generates the lowest added value to the final product, why not just let it go? Isn’t most U.S. apparel brands and retailers which moved production overseas and invested in design, product development, branding and retailing are doing very well financially?
2017 US Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study and Apparel Sourcing
#4 Why do you think respondents say that social compliance and sustainability issues are more important today than five years ago? Is this because of the many issues that have occurred in the recent years? What has changed?
#5 If the majority of respondents answered that they have increased their concerns and decisions on ethical sourcing and sustainability, why are there still manufacturing incidents overseas related to American-based brands? All the respondents even audit their suppliers. Should there be a standardized code for the process and requirements for auditors especially with overseas suppliers to ensure the ethical supply chain brands promise?
#6 According to the study some US fashion companies source from places with duty-free programs but don’t claim the benefits. They claim it is because of strict, complicated rules of origin and heavy documentation requirements by NAFTA and CAFTA-DR. How can these rules and regulations be changed? What are the obstacles?
#7 Through this article we understand that larger companies generally have a more diversified sourcing base than smaller companies. How could these extended operations correlate to our previous discussions of supply chain management and how it affects humanistic aspects of production such as workers’ rights and various labor laws?
#8 The benchmarking study finds that hiring plans of businesses within the fashion industry are beginning to shift. Companies plan to increase their talent to include more diverse educational backgrounds such as engineering and business analytics. What are the implications for conventional fashion educational programs like FASH? How should FASH keep up with the changing nature of the apparel industry and improve the competitiveness and employability of our students?
(Please feel free to join our online discussion. In your comment, please mention the question #.)