How can the Thai Foundation Garment Industry compete successfully in International Supply Networks?
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
The apparel industry is a significant income source for developing countries. Thailand is one of the largest textile and garment industries in South East Asia (Lotharukpong, nd) and it is the second most important industrial segment regarding to employment (SourceAsean.com, 2010). From the interviewing with TGMA, Thai Foundation garment industry is one of world-class industries in Asia and has potentially grown in the future. After the quota liberation in 2005, Thai foundation garment industry has been facing many challenges recently, which including the hyper competition from other developing countries, the EU and the US economic downturn, the rise in labour minimum wage in April 2012, the devastated floods in 2011 and many other external factors. It is important to aware of the upcoming AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) in 2015 and also the Wear American Act of 2012.
This research aims to answer the main research question, which is “How can the Thai foundation garment industry compete successfully in international supply networks” by exploring and analysing the current situation of the industry using various frameworks in the professional literatures. Additionally, the four case studies of representative companies and the interviewing with Thai Garment Manufacturers Association are also conducted to gain more insights information. The information collecting from both primary and secondary data are examined and the most important findings are highlighted.
With regard to the analyses and findings, the direction for Thai foundation garment industry should be initiated by recognising the success of Italy fashion in world market. Therefore, Thai foundation garment companies should aim to be “the Italy of the East”. To be able to successfully achieve that goal, seven recommended strategies should be implemented as an answer the main research question and also to be able to success in AEC 2015. Those strategies are as below:
1. Upgrading their value chain in order to differentiate themselves from other neighbourhood competitors,
2. Upgrading their products from low-cost commodities to higher value-added fashion products
3. Upgrading their processes to improve efficiencies and flexibilities along their supply network
4. Creating their own product developing team
5. Creating their own brand identity
6. Developing skills of workers along the stage of value chain
7. Promoting specific local cluster for the foundation garment industry.
These recommendations can help Thai foundation garment industry to success in global supply network.
This research may be of interest to managers in the apparel business organisations, especially in foundation garment industrial leaders, who intend to understand the current situation of this industry in Thailand and the appropriate direction for this business in order to success in global supply network. However, it is also important to note that this research is still too broad for readers to penetrate into the details of each focus area. Therefore, the future research should aim to focus on more specific details in several key areas, such as how can Thai foundation garment industry be able to upgrade from OEMs to ODMs and OBMs? , The future of Thai foundation garment industry in the post AEC, The relocation of Thai OEM foundation garment industry to neighbourhood countries and also the potential of Thai foundation garment clusters.
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