Blog #10 James Seals. Distribution, trade and transportation are aspects often overlooked by consumers in regards to manufacturing clothes. When shopping for clothes people frequently observe that their clothing is manufactured overseas in nations like China, India or Bangladesh and consumers never fully realize the costs associated with shipping these items around the world. The supply chain of most consumer goods can be divided into three main areas: purchasing, manufacturing, and transportation. Of these three divisions transportation has the greatest cost influence within a supply chain. Most often people believe that manufacturing and purchasing are the main drivers but this is not the case. Companies in the business of manufacturing clothes constantly look for clever ways to cut back on manufacturing costs, often you leading to the all familiar outsourcing solution. Companies need to take a hard look at where they source their products because with increasing transportation costs there is no longer a large cost incentive for buying cheaper goods in foreign markets like China. This is why a number of companies are beginning to turn away from outsourcing their production.
Patagonia is a prime example of a company that pays remarkably close attention to their supply chain. They are a unique organization because not only do they make some of the highest quality and sought after clothes, they do so in a way that is socially and environmentally conscious while earning respectable profits. Patagonia reduces their transportation costs and their impact on the environment by strategically and ethically sourcing manufacturing plants closer to their suppliers of raw materials and shipping ports. By strategically placing manufacturing closer to suppliers and shipping sources this cuts down material costs and reduces the distance needed to transport raw goods and finished products. Patagonia also accounts for shipment efficiency by using more fuel efficient methods of transportation and by consolidating products into larger but fewer shipments. For conscious consumers this company is the pinnacle of excellence. Point Loma’s sustainability department has made an excellent decision by sourcing uniform apparel from this organization.