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China and Asia Footwear Summit 2016

October 28, 2016
Posted by Shweta Chordiya

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Recently Adjuno sponsored and participated in The China and Asia Footwear Summit held in Shenzhen, China organised by ECV International. The 2 days of action-packed summit was attended by Sourcing Directors, Supply Chain and PLM Executives, Merchandising and Category Managers, Sales and Marketing professionals, manufacturing and consulting companies and various other thought leaders in footwear industry. The summit focused on insightful discussions around China’s main role within the footwear industry and how in last the 20 years countries like Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and few other Asian countries have experienced rapid development in the footwear industry.

Furthermore there were panel discussions from the global perspectives of new material development, sourcing, and speed-up supply chain management; with a major focus on the footwear manufacturing industry and various new technologies, automatic revolution, C2M manufacturing chain, ecommerce etc.

This summit was an ideal platform for us to meet industry thought leaders and understand the new norms in the footwear industry.

If you have missed it, below is a snapshot of some of the key topics and panel discussions covered on both the days.

1). Panel Discussion on Prospects of China and Asia footwear market

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2). Digitization – Next Force for Footwear Industry Growth

Forest Hou, Senior Expert of McKinsey & Company discussed challenges the footwear market is facing along value chains under the New Norm circumstance:

  • Customisation has become the new requirement of rising middle class
  • Continuing growth of labour cost will trigger more automated production/ digital manufacturing
  • Modern trade is a booming and expanding market to tier 3 – 4 tier cities meaning an upgrade of advanced planning management system and a sophisticated network infrastructure is required
  • Consumers in China are highly brand conscious but are becoming less brand loyal meaning better after sales services is required to retain consumers.
  • Channel management is becoming complex with the advent of online channels to purchase apparel and footwear.

3). How intelligent manufacturing is changing shoemaking?

Sergio Dulio, Head of Technology & Innovation at ATOM discussed the forthcoming “high-tech” revolution which will be based on the combination of an “all 3D printing” manufacturing approach and customisation which will change the entire footwear value chain dramatically. He pin pointed the latest trend of “less touch, more tech” in shoe manufacturing as compared to the old manufacturing style that was “high touch, less tech”.

Finally he concluded with 9 points the factory of the future will need:

  • Intelligent “human centric” automation
  • Less specialized, more versatile machines
  • Robots as servants
  • Flexibility as a must
  • Distributed control intelligence
  • RFID for tagging and tracking
  • Integration of additive technologies
  • New CAD tools for new products
  • Technologies for circular economies

4). The changing role of social audits

Stuart Cranfield, Head of Vendor Audit at C & J Clark International Ltd. had a different outlook towards audits. He stated “It is not about the Audit” but “It is about improving working conditions”. Furthermore he discussed about 3 categories of supplier’s responses as below –

  • Those that get it and do it (they have high standards and strong management capability, reduced auditing)
  • Those that do it because the customer said so (reasonable standards, good understanding but not able to maintain without regular external input like audits)
  • Those that see doing as little as they can get away with as the best way to operate (poor standards, minimal effort towards improvement, seen as cost not an investment, increased audits/ intervention required)

5). Maintaining competitiveness in the Chinese footwear market through supply chain innovation

Carrie Chiu, Senior Manager at Weave Service Limited discussed how a strong footwear ecosystem in China provides an advantage over other countries. Though China has been the biggest shoe manufacturer in the world, there are other countries who are catching up as seen in the below snapshot presented by Carrie.
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To conclude, there were a few other speakers and panel discussions and shared views about the new globalization trend, the rise in development of Industry 4.0 as well as combined with the “Made in China 2025” Strategy, that shows Material and Labour is not only key competitiveness factors.

The footwear industry needs to leap forward into intelligent manufacturing in order to strive. So technology will play a key role and will enable improved collaboration over a wider geographical area.

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Shweta Chordiya – Marketing and Communications Manager, Adjuno
Shweta has worked in the supply chain industry for 10 years, six of which have been in Asia, based out of Hong Kong. Shweta has experience across a range of disciplines within the industry, notably supply chain operations, trade finance, marketing communications, PR, event management and content management for marketing collaterals. At Adjuno, she is responsible for all marketing and communications activity across the Asia Pacific region.