(SJ President’s Note) Last week’s appointment of Tom Glaser as Tapestry COO, is not just a milestone for him personally, but for executives across sourcing and the supply chain.
It used to be that designers and sales teams were credited with the success, or blamed for fashion brands’ failure. Sourcing executives were tucked away in back offices and chided by their sales teams who demanded quicker deliveries and cheaper prices. Up late with factories trying to straighten out late deliveries and quality issues, sourcing executives have served as a punching bag between two time zones. But what has long been a thankless job has shifted quite a lot in the last decade.
The supply chain is now among sought-after majors in schools, niche news focused on the industry’s inner workings and issues have ramped up, and the sector has gotten new focus as the industry realizes its relevance.
As the complexity of running a retail, apparel or footwear brand increases, who is best poised to take on more senior and C-Level positions? And who understands, global trade, logistics, compliance, sustainability, technology and the impact on the many silos of a company’s business, cross border commerce, inventory management, and the like? It’s the sourcing executives.
Glaser’s move to the C-suite, is just the beginning of what may be many high-level management positions shifting to supply chain executives. We all know the money is made on the back-end (assuming you have the right product) and business is only getting more complex by the day.
It may be a rough time to be in fashion, but it may be a very good time, professionally, to be in sourcing. Assuming you’re up for the stress, lack of sleep, endless travel and political uncertainty, companies’ success now resting on your shoulders.
Edward Hertzman is the founder and president of Sourcing Journal.