The Chamber  •  Services

Our insights from this year's Made in Asia: What your company needs to know

We're hot off the heels of another stellar edition of our annual sourcing symposium, Made in Asia. Some of the world’s biggest brands were present to tackle the tricky subject of transparency and how it can be embraced to positively impact your business.

If you missed out, don’t worry! We’ve got the full rundown of what our speakers had to say. You can also find all the photos from the day here

Download the PDF version


Anne-Laure Descours – Global Director, Sourcing and Development, Apparel and Accessories, PUMA SE

How the need for transparency forces the sourcing industry to change

View the presentation

For many years we used to hide in the way we do business

Bad press on social media travels exceptionally fast

When something goes wrong, if you don’t have transparency you won’t know what to say to the press

Fundamentals of doing business have not changed, but conditions have

More robust legislation is more and more present in all countries

We’re moving from “need to know” to “knowing everything”

Remove silos for agility and speed

Material suppliers are the most reluctant to change and adapt

Truly strategic collaboration requires fewer but stronger partners with closer integration

Embrace change, it’s fun!

Pascal Brun, Head of Sustainability - Global Production, H&M Group

Why transparency is important for the customer

View the presentation | Watch the video

One t-shirt = 2,000 litres of water

We still have lots of work to do on transparency

Ambition for being transparent has to be set by the very top management

Transparency is different to sustainability

Ultimately, customers vote with their wallets; they want to spend their money on a company they can be proud of

Sustainability index will change the way consumers decide

You need to have an equal partnership with your supplier

58% of consumers say that sustainability is a key concern

73% millennials are willing to spend more on sustainable brands

Brands are starting to put supplier list online

People within the company sometimes fear transparency

The more we’re transparent the more consumers will respond to it

Sharon Lim, CEO, Browzwear

Rethinking the supply chain digitally

View the presentation | Watch the video

Digitalising transparency connects consumers to what they wouldn’t be able to do before

People decide hotels via ratings – can’t do it without digitalising. This changed how we buy products and services

Supply chain in fashion industry is imperfect

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Speed is the big word on managers’ desks – but speed to what?

It’s not just about going faster; it’s about changing the way you work

Open sharing + connectivity = new business opportunities

It’s not just about data exchange; it’s about digitalising your transparency

Visualisation enables different departments to work together better and be connected

Don’t fear change!

Karen Ho, Head of Corporate and Community Sustainability, WWF

Transparency and its importance in terms of driving impact

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We are living beyond the planet’s boundaries; it takes 1.7 earths to support humanity’s demand on nature; must increase biocapacity

Reduce energy and resources consumption through enhanced efficiency, dematerialisation and a circular economy

Increase biological productive area to generate ongoing supply of renewable resources and to absorb wastage

Most likely global risks: 1. Extreme weather events, 2. Natural disasters

Transparency fosters brand loyalty

Top priorities for G250 companies 1. Climate action, 2. Responsible consumption and production

Support from top leadership team is a must

Sourcing companies can play a leading role beyond compliance and beyond risk management

Archana Kotecha, Head of Legal, Liberty Asia

New legal imperatives

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Human rights movement is far behind the environmental movement

As a worker going to court to protect your rights it’s very difficult to see it through

40.3 million people in modern slavery globally – 24.9 million of them in Asia

Legal risks for businesses are increasing including parent liability and cross-border claims

Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act US changes the game for global accountability

Could it mean banks financing company aware of abuse taking place is liable?

Parent liability: Duty of Vigilance law goes beyond disclosure obligations of other countries

It means parent company is liable for actions of its subsidiary or contractor further down the supply chain

Aggrieved third party can bring a case in France against French parent company, doesn’t matter where the abuse happens

Enhanced transparency is often very reactive

Risk to people is the ultimate risk to business

Catherine Chiu, General Manager, Corporate Quality and Sustainability, Crystal International Group Limited

Risk management and risk crisis

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Customers want good price, quick, quality, safe products, on time, IP – trouble free & assurance

If we want that – we need a harmonised factory with a harmonised workforce

Clients hate their name being negatively mentioned by media, contributing to bad reputation / image

Good employee communication enhances transparency

Need to communicate digitally with workers via WeChat and other platforms

Positive communication: drive productivity, reduce cost & potential issues, workers’ satisfaction index, worker retention, employer branding

Being transparent = customer assurance and build trust, reduce business risk to create a long term partnership

Edwin Keh, Chief Executive Officer, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel

The sourcing office of the future

View the presentation | Watch the video

Non-traditional global companies are taking market share

Consumers want purpose, authenticity, transparency

They want clothes that make sense for them

In the future we’ll neeed partnerships more than anything else – no longer jumping from 3rd-world-country to 3rd-world-country

We’re hiring people who aren’t equipped to do the job we’re asking them to

Identify the ‘people problem’

Our beliefs are the most stubborn things we hold on to, it’s the last thing we change

There’s a tsunami of data coming at us – we need to work out what to do with it

Trying to solve a training challenge with a recruitment solution doesn’t work

Top skill in 2020 = Complex problem solving, which is not teachable

Why are we still hiring people for the skillset and not for the things we can’t teach them?

Petra Carlberg, Deputy Global Purchasing and Logistics Area Manager – Asia, IKEA

A supply chain I trust - Compliance: A base for doing good business

We don’t buy products, we buy capacity

Form, low-price, function, quality, sustainability are the five key elements of product

We control full supply / value chain as we design everything

The foundation is built on “a supply chain I trust”

Compliance – a base for doing good business

Need to have 100% traceability in our value chain to have a sustained impact

Reducing number of working hours (not the pay) to improve efficiency

Next step is to improve the conditions of families of migrant co-workers

Sometimes you discover things you don’t want to discover

When you trace the whole value you chain, it helps you to understand how to better spend along the chain and reduce costs

We have traceability from the actual tree to final wood products

Michael Moriarty, Managing Director, Hasbro Far East and Senior Vice President of Global Sourcing, Hasbro

Quality / safety legislation and guidelines: How they force manufacturing to change

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The consumer never been more powerful than today

Consumers are saying ‘no’ before legislators have a chance to consider things

Volatility on how demand is created

Omni-channel world – but online isn’t our business avenue

$1T cross-border online sales

Over half of consumers engage in purchases from outside their own country

Accountability for cross-border sales is tricky

Legislation is unable to keep up with changes

The world is getting smaller, forcing manufacturing to get bigger

Consumers value socially compliant companies and have more information than ever before

Duncan Wong, Founder and CEO, CryptoBLK

Blockchain is here

View the presentation | Watch the video

Can’t talk about blockchain without bitcoin

Blockchain is the underpinning technology of bitcoin and almost all other cryptocurrencies

Blockchain = database duplicated over numerous computers on the internet

Data cannot be changed or deleted once written, it’s read mjltple times with data source preservation – multiple parties can read and write

It can be used for supply chain, food wine, diamond, luxury goods, electronics, garments, or any asset with a serial number

Many companies consider supply chain visibility as a high priority for improvement

Everything can be very transparent and then, afterwards, you can choose exactly the subset of information that your client sees

Rebecca Chan, Regional Sourcing Manager, Kingfisher Asia Limited

Gregory Le Coent, Vice-President, Wirquin

Moderator: Kieran Cash, Communications Manager, French Chamber

How to get a right product at a right price

What is new: Kingfisher changed from an organisation where each buyer in each country had a say, to a central office where the buyer designs a complete product

From 100+ SKUs to 14 SKUs for 11 countries

Change in Organisation, Product Design, Sourcing, Supply Chain

Aim: Design a product fit for all countries

Work on internal organization and ideally start from white paper

Optimisation is done through the expertise of the manufacturer

First time for Wirquin having this level of collaboration and dialogue – transparency is key

Training is step 0

Product design is the new way of sourcing

Lily Bao, Sales Director of Europe Market, Midea Group

Digitalisation and automation, a solution to reduce costs and prices

Intelligent manufacturing: automation, information & intelligence

If you’re running a factory, you suffer the cost increase from raw materials fluctuating

Midea strategy = Productive + high efficiency + global operation

Constant innovations, partnering with more than 20 research centres and universities around the world, building co-op labs, applying research results to manufacturing

Intelligent manufacturing – pull through value chain

Industry 4.0 vision establishes a hyper-connectivity that goes beyond the factory walls

Anson Bailey, Master of Ceremony, Head of Consumer Markets, Hong Kong, KPMG China

Wrap-up: Industry 4.0 – innovate or die​

View the presentation

Must upskill our people

The ability to digitally print is changing the fashion industry

Which technology is the right technology?

800 million workers will lose their jobs by 2030

How are we going to compete with platforms? (Like Amazon)

Will drones impact our supply chain? is already looking at a deal that will send drones servicing 200 distribution points in rural china

How are we going to deal with all the millennials?

Retail dismissed Amazon – now: 6,500 retail outlets closed down in UK alone