Career in Merchandising: Factory vs Buying House

Career in Merchandising: Factory vs Buying House

Muhammad Nurul Alam
Senior Merchandiser | Asmara BD Pvt. Ltd. | Dhaka | Bangladesh
&
Honorable Secretary
Apparel Merchandiser Club of Bangladesh Ltd (AMCB )
Cell: +8801930540035
E-mail: alam@asmarabd.com & alamnur09@yahoo.com




Introduction:
In my early career when I was working as an experienced merchandiser always tried to get knowledge which is helpful & very practical for my job. As you know garment industry is more practical rather than theoretical. So this is important for everyone to improve his professional knowledge through practical & most importantly who is working in the apparel industry. Actually the efficiency of a garment merchandiser depends on how much he is doing his job practically. An efficient merchandiser try to change his views, working process by implementing new ideas & learning from mistake. So receiving single knowledge from experienced personnel means reading hundreds of books on any subject matter .But we see in our country only few professionals from apparel industry let others know the secrete of effective merchandising . They may have less competency in expressing knowledge or they feel comport to keep it secrete. I think we have still numerous topic which is either little discussed or never discussed but very necessary to know. Your experience is your strength & power. So,If you can keep it in written document that might help others . In the same way if we can put all our knowledge & experiences in one basket altogether definitely our professional skill will go further ahead. Here i want to share some of my experiences & struggle that took me little longer to be successful. I know this may not be same for everyone & everyone has different challenges in his profession. But some common struggle that might not be avoid whoever you be & wherever you are working. Most of the time we suffer because our prediction some time does not match to reality. If you are little prepared before hand for the upcoming challenges you must suffer less than to be learning nothing . But to be prepared or mind setup for your upcoming challenges some one has to stand to tell you what challenges you are going to face. This is most important matter that in our country we get little information or nothing information from seniors that can help any one in the way of working. So today i want to share my experience & understanding in my way point of view . You may differ to me that does not matter the factor is sharing experience.
Factory Merchandiser vs. Buying House Merchandiser
Factory Merchandiser vs. Buying House Merchandiser
Why the Subject Title?
Why I picked the topic for today’s discussion you may need little explanation. Actually in my early career I was fool enough to think Merchandising in factory & Merchandising in Buying house is the same thing. I realize the difference when started career in Buying house & found in every step things are different , nothing is moving, nothing is happening. As I mentioned earlier if someone could tell me how Buying house Merchandising differs from factory merchandising I never faced those difficulties in my Buying career for not having knowledge in both way working. Yes, I struggled, I understand & I realized by doing wrong to be perfect merchandising. I know many of us can do it easily either in factory or buying house without difficulties but this is not same for all specially I am not from exception. If we could identify the difference of working in both area definitely this will help others those are still thinking to work either in buying house or in factory. I believe if someone start career in a buying house he might have face difficulties when do it in factory & the same thing happen for a merchandiser who works in factory & trying to do it in buying house. Actually this is not same rather totally different in my view. You will see some time your seniors are not much interested to let you know how things happen in particular area – buying or factory. For this reason we suffer in every step of our career & get success late or fail. I feel, my learning is not much & have not much experience but feel to share whatever I possess. At least you will not be sudden surprised in a new world.

Factory Merchandising is the Best Merchandising:
Most of the time people get merchandising in factory is very messy, exhausting & laborious. Dust & uncomfortable hot environment makes anyone easily feed up in working to factory. Meeting people at below standard, dealing unpleasant moment or receiving unexpected words from people is very common in factory. We know maximum people who works in factory either they have little education or nothing education but has long time experience. So they tried to be dominant most of the time on merchandiser. On the other hand factories are located usually in remote area so if someone wants to work in factory he must feel the world is behind his back & time is really boring not to get much time to enjoy family & friends’ .That is why people are not much interested to work at factory rather gets comfort working at buying house. Yes, working in buying house is little comfortable than factory but not a place to understand for product manufacturing. In the factory you can improve your knowledge to see the things. May be you are a textile student or not but the most important thing is to understand all the manufacturing process & unfortunately without working at factory this is almost impossible. I feel there are lots of issues in manufacturing that one cannot get proper knowledge by reading books or working in buying house. Some time you may think frequently visit at factory will help you to understand the manufacturing process but the reality is different & this is not sufficient to understand everything. Because a merchandiser when works at factory he meets challenges & gets the solution from experienced people or by own experience which can develop new method to ease work load. So a factory merchandiser is more energetic & innovative for his verities of responsibilities. He faces tremendous pressure from buying concern, factory management & some time unfavorable situation. So in any consideration factory merchandiser is more ahead in problem-solving method than a buying merchandiser. I can say a factory merchandiser is a paddy grower & a buying merchandiser is paddy trader only. A factory merchandiser with a little effort can make him enable to work in buying house where as a buying merchandiser most of the time fails to work in factory because of his lack of strength, energy & motivational knowledge.

Buying Merchandising is Abstract Merchandising:
Abstract means – something that you cannot touch or feel by organ unlike concrete. In the factory a merchandiser can see the machine, production process & final goods but in the buying house he can get the information about up-dated product status. So for him the information is abstract where as factory merchandiser can get concrete knowledge by visualization. That is why the information what a buying merchandiser gathers about a product cannot be correct in all the way. He may receive wrong information from a wrong source so for him some time things become difficult to up-date his customer. This is very important for a buying merchandiser to be up-dated with real situation. Usually buying merchandiser collects the information from different source to justify reality of a problem & find the solution. His prediction power should be keener than to a factory merchandiser. Because in abstract merchandising things are really difficult to manage when raise unexpected situation. So buying merchandiser always keeps the alternative way of solution & thinks beforehand what may happen next. This is really important for him because any when anything may change without prior notice. We will keep few key points later in separate Para to give concrete idea about responsibility of a buying merchandiser. However in abstract merchandising something more important issues are involved that must not avoidable like – customer relationship , customer values , business development , innovation of new product , understanding of new trend, increasing communication , managing both customer & vendor , understanding of product chain management , environment & health issues , finally safety & wages . These all are abstract & so buying merchandising is more than technical rather service oriented. Undoubtedly the true is buying merchandisers are comparatively creative than a factory merchandiser.

Buying House- No Entry for Old Man:
You may feel my word is little rude but this is the reality which no one can avoid. In Bangladesh context we see buying house is not for the people who are above age 50. Rather very young people are working here in the buying houses more efficiently. If you see someone above age of 45 or 50 definitely either he is in excellent work force or just getting old age benefit from owner. I am really sorry for the people who lost job at old age though his maximum energy of young hood has given for the organization. Why Buying house does not favour old man? Actually they are more experienced & efficient in the profession after that in a Buying house old men are always useless whereas in the Europe people in old age gets more attention in the organization because of their long time experience . Some particular reasons are identified in a study behind this practice. Hope this will help everyone to be more aware in the career.
  • In the Buying house people always like to see young, energetic, motivated & creative professional. 
  • Observation says in Bangladesh those are working in Buying house for a long time they loss their energy, innovative force because of age. They seem are not moving & motionless. This is really shocking when people feel they are useless. Even management feels they are burden for organization so starting treat different. Finally the person himself left his job or gets fired. 
  • This is true the person who works in the organization for a longtime he deserves to receive old age benefit because of service but this is not recognized in Bangladesh. 
  • Normally a person who works in an organization for a long time he receives a full volume of package-salary because of yearly increment in the job. So at age of 50 owner feels the package is much costly in compare to his present service so they try to hire new people & very fresh professional by reducing package for the same service. 
  • In Bangladesh people often stop their growing when he is in certain age of his career. He thinks long time experience is enough for the coming days but this is not true. Study & keep growing with the latest invention is very important to be updated with the competitive outer world.
But a good news also for the elderly professional who has still enough energy to work newly. In general Bangladesh garment industry prefer experienced professional for factory. So if a person when does not get room in the Buying house he must see a new ray of opportunity in the factory. Factory needs experienced professional though he is elder in age where as buying house always looking for young. Yes, Factory is the last destiny for the merchandising professional in Bangladesh but not the Buying house. So never lost your hope & never stop growing.

Get Experience in both Factory & Buying Merchandising:
From my above discussion you already realized for a merchandiser professional this is very important to have experience from both way – Factory & Buying House. Here we can categorize merchandising as below.
  • Starting from: Factory – Buying house – Factory. Best way of merchandising to be perfect professional. 
  • Starting from: Factory – Factory – Factory. This is also good to stay in factory & continuing there at end of the career. 
  • Starting from: Buying House – Factory – Factory. This is actually very tough for a merchandiser working in factory after being habituated with buying house & with all its working process. 
  • Starting from: Buying House – Buying House – Buying House. Very few people can continue his career in the buying house up to his retirement. So never think your career will go under all the blessing in the buying house for a long period unless you are extremely sincere to uplift career & try to grow in every step of profession.
In general if you are above age of 40 never think to start career in buying house because this is the period of transaction to be ignored by the people. Rather better to stay in factory where age gives more value for long experience. However exception is not example but thing should have to be changed that age cannot be barrier to keep continuing career in Buying house. We hope all the professional should be aware enough to keep him growing with the contemporary time.

Key Responsibility of a Factory Merchandiser:
If you are working in a Factory no need to tell you the key responsibility of your job but this is important for a Buying merchandiser who wants to work in Factory after growing in buying house. The below short key can help a fresh graduate who is willing to get start career in factory also.
  • Yarn procurement. 
  • Trims booking. 
  • Preparing TNA so that everyone can get the priority. 
  • Keeping Production update.
  • Preparing for final inspection: Making packing list & getting approval, if require attaching any carton sticker.
  • Goods ex-factory: Make sure to arrange covered van & ensure it to reach forwarder’s premises.
  • Proceeding for Lab dip submission: Keep close relationship with lab section so that they can give you better support. 
  • Proceeding for all approval: Print, embroidery, trims as well as bulk lot. 
  • Inventory: Fabric, trims, carton etc. Keep close monitoring with store department. 
  • Forwarder space booking: Keep close contact with forwarder if necessary to get special permission.
  • Fabric Booking: Before fabric booking one must check it with cutting section along with knitting department. Because for some issues if you don’t get consultation from these two section there are possibility to have error. So don’t be too smart to ignore people whom you are going to meet next. 
  • Sample Making: Calculate submission date as per your TNA so make sure to receive fabric on time along with all the trims. Don’t miss single item that related in making of sample. Because missing of any item in sample making will delay the process.
  • Mail communication: This is very important to keep communication for any purpose with buyer & keep satisfy them.
  • Minutes & Cutting permission: For a factory merchandiser cutting permission is very important. This is actually making a complete file having all the information about the product which will be followed by all the section. So any error in making this file can be devastating. We will discuss the subject in separate article for more clarification. Minutes with the entire department, making action plan for the goods delivery is very important. 
  • Giving schedule to buying house to conduct inspection: For a factory merchandiser this is very difficult to manage an Instructor who comes for final inspection. Legal & illegal lots of demand may come from the inspector & merchandiser has to mange everything for his final delivery. So to be a factory merchandiser, be patient & creative enough. Off course developing relationship is very important. 
Key Responsibility of a Buying Merchandiser:
As you know above maximum job for a buying merchandiser is abstract. Now you can realize how he does all these abstract merchandising. Basically factory merchandiser performs the entire task for production where as buying merchandiser is his shadow to follow the job. Suppose factory merchandiser completed fabric booking, here buying merchandiser does not do anything but is doing it abstractly. That means buying merchandiser acting on everything.
  • Buying Merchandiser keeps close monitoring on work progress done by factory merchandiser – like lab dip, fabric booking, sampling the entire day to day merchandising job.
  • Keep aware the entire production unit to meet dead line.
  • Keep communication with both factory & customer.
  • Get the current issues from both factory & customer & try to find a good solution.
  • He is the only one that keeps & cannot miss any of the submissions & approval.
  • Works on TNA.
  • Production update & forecast customer if require additional time for delivery.
  • Product Development is very important for a buying merchandiser to get good new customer.
  • Sourcing for production unit, fabric, trims & also for new product.
  • Works on price to manage both factory & customer.
  • Business & profit assessment.
  • Prepare QC file.
  • Ensure Quality by close monitoring with quality team.
  • If any quality issue arises & if not possible to manage, let the buyer know the practical situation & try to get the solution.
  • Keep contact to commercial & shipping department for shipment & settle payment issue.
  • Keep contact to shipping agent if needed special permission for goods delivery.
  • Managing customer when they pay visit to production unit.
How a Factory Merchandiser can Get into a Buying House:
In general factory merchandiser always wishes to get a job in buying house because of many reasons. Mostly to do job in less stress, enjoying holidays & sometimes feel working in buying house is more honorable. I don’t feel so; actually it depends on your attitude. If you are really creative & innovative it does not vary for both the working place. This is actually professionalism what you should have to grow in career. Stress is not bad rather it gives you opportunity to grow. This is true in this sense because very few people can accept stress & challenges. If you are really bold enough to accept it you will be successful either in factory or in buying house. Never under mean your place. Keep respect for job & definitely it will reward you .However if you are really determined to get into buying house please try to follow some principles & practice it along with regular merchandising job.
  • Be proactive: You should have to take all the responsibilities proactively. No one will come to advice you what to do & not to do in prioritizing job. Some time we see in the factory people wait until a reminder comes from buying house. So like factory customer will not remind you & if they do that you will not be right persons for buying house.
  • Prompt action: Whatever requirement that you receive from customer should have to perform immediately. If not possible ask time politely by giving exact reason.
  • Customer service: Customer service is very important in Buying house whereas in factory some time people has a habit of ignoring it. So never so NO to your customer. 
  • Excellent communication: Language communication in both verbal & written is very important preferably in English. If you have competency in other languages that would be added advantage. 
  • To be updated: Actively keep all your updates as soon customer ask to present it. 
  • Time management: If you want to job in Buying house following time management is undoubtedly important. You have to follow TNA & make others to follow as well. 
  • Be a leader: Yes, buying merchandiser is all time leader. He has to mange situation or people so, to be a good buying merchandiser be a good leader. 
  • Never stop growing: you already heard this words several time after that will say keep continue your growing by study, experience, consultation & by other means.
Conclusion:
In conclusion we must say please love your job, love your desk. Don’t show your crazy mood & don’t be upset that your working place is not as your expectation. Believe me if you love your job definitely it will give you reward. Whatever difficulties you are facing think this is for certain period. Don’t think Buying House is the best & Factory merchandising is less honorable. Already you realized how people keep moving to factory after a certain period of time. No way except factory & this is the best place to learn merchandising. Finally –keep growing, learn & practice. 
 
Another article of this author:
The Way of Smart Merchandising
 
 

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