The gathering included 44 finished goods manufacturing suppliers – eight Strategic, 10 Value and 26 Specialty suppliers. Seven of their own, or Tier 2, suppliers, also accepted the invitation.
The day started with a CFS management team presentation and continued, after a work lunch, with a problem solving workshop. This format was designed to effectively communicate CFS performance results and new business plans, and, more importantly, to work with the suppliers as a team to troubleshoot specific challenges identified by CFS.
In an opening speech, Simon Tidball, global sourcing director, expressed gratitude to the factories for their support over the past year. The attendees were briefed on business performance in 2015, a significant improvement over 2014 due to streamlined processes improving on-time delivery, costing and material consolidation, quality and claims management and supplier consolidation and auditing. Higher expectations and targets were set for 2016 as per the CFS 2016 Business Plan, in collaboration with all suppliers, in order to build long-term business relationships with all the CFS-approved Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers in particular.
CFS managers then gave brief overviews of their specific departments: Miguel Angel Ruiz for product development, Gary Yee for supplier chain management, Grace Zhu for costing, Joseph Choi for quality assurance and Nick Zhong for social and sustainability.
The morning session concluded with the special recognition of six suppliers for exceptional performance in different areas. Awards were presented for product development, on-time delivery, quality, customer service, and social and sustainability.
In the afternoon, five 50-minute workshops kicked off in five different meeting rooms, with rotating facilitators. Synergy, interaction and teamwork made these workshops fruitful.
After facilitators set specific targets or challenges, participants were divided into small teams to brainstorm and find practical solutions to the root cause of each issue. CFS department supervisors assisted in all of these discussions, and each team presented several suggestions.
To wrap up each workshop, facilitators, with the input of attendees, identified three key actions and will draft a timeline for a prioritized action plan. This action plan can then be sent to attendees to serve as a guide for tackling these challenges in the future.
Tidball expressed appreciation to participants for their commitment and contributions to the workshops. The diversified format was a reflection of CFS’s commitment to improving sourcing operations, and the “open door” culture being cultivated as a core operating belief will help build a sustainable organization and continuous improvement with supplier collaboration to ensure greater success for all partners.
The CEO of Fulin Shoes, among others, expressed his appreciation for the 2016 CFS Suppliers Summit. “I have been to many brands’ conferences, and this is one of the best conferences I have ever attended. A one-day meeting is short; however, deliverables are power. I liked the workshop format, in which I could interact with others. I have the confidence to implement these actions and grow with Bata.”