Johannesburg, South Africa: Edcon, Southern Africa's largest non-food retailer, concluded its local and regional supplier conference today.
The conference, attended by over 50 South African and regional clothing, footwear and home textile companies, had strong support from the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, which also participated as a speaker at the event.
Edcon CEO, Jürgen Schreiber, commented, "As our futures are inextricably linked, the conference is ultimately aimed at improving communication and understanding. The sharing of our vision and strategy with our key business partners is a critically important imperative, which includes aligning business models to enable the Quick Response initiative."
In his address, the Department of Trade and Industry's Chief Director, Abisha Tembo, said, "South Africa's textile, clothing, leather and footwear sector provides direct employment for about 120 000 people, which represents 11% of those employed in manufacturing in South Africa. Various incentives are offered to the sector by way of a clothing and textiles competitiveness programme, which provides financial assistance and aims to facilitate competitiveness through process and product improvement. This programme has already supported many hundreds of companies and saved thousands of jobs. I would like to make special mention regarding Edcon's success in achieving an increase in local content and purchasing"
Suppliers at the conference had an opportunity to interact with Edcon's key leadership team about the future strategy of the group and at a divisional level. Edcon has increased its commitment to its strategic vendors and explained how it sees these partnerships evolving to the benefit of all as it focuses on the successful implementation of the group's strategy. Suppliers were updated on the benefits that flexibility, including the Quick Response strategy, continuity of supply, delivery reliability and communication would have for the success of all parties.
The execution of the Edcon strategy includes steps to extend and enhance suppliers to be better aligned with the requirements of a modern fashion retailer through increasing the number of South African and regional suppliers supporting Edcon's Quick Response strategy. Quick Response enables Edcon to respond better and quicker to customer demands by improving the availability of more of the right product at competitive pricing.
Mr Schreiber added that management was "Very proud of the fact that the amount of Quick Response product ordered from South African and regional suppliers more than doubled between summer 2011 and summer 2012"
The conference provided an opportunity for Edcon to recognise the important contributions that suppliers are making, and their progress achieved, to evolve with the business. Seven suppliers were presented Quality Accreditation awards, which acknowledge the benefit Edcon has gained in reducing lead times to store by up to two weeks. These suppliers also qualified as being aligned in their efforts to support Edcon's strategic imperatives. These companies were Celrose, Traclo, Floreal Knitwear, Aquarelle Clothing, Tropic Knits, CGM Industrials and Compagine Mauricienne de Textile.
Annual awards, based on a performance scorecard, will continue to be made to recognise suppliers that ultimately support Edcon's strategic transformation efforts.
Mr Schreiber concluded, "The success of Edcon's strategy will depend on the support we receive from our key business partners and their appreciation of what is required to be delivered. It is therefore imperative that we continue building and evolving the strong relationships that have been established with local manufacturers including small and medium sized suppliers".