Around the world: Supplycompass
What does your company do?
Supplycompass makes it easier for fashion and homeware brands to find and work with the best international manufacturers. Our intuitive platform brings clarity and structure to a notoriously complex process. We put brands in the driving seat.
We are a people-plus-tech business with offices in London and Mumbai. Our focus is on facilitating better relationships within global supply chains and embedding greater trust and transparency throughout. We want to offer brands the most responsible and innovative sourcing solutions and to provide the most seamless production experience.
When was your company launched, who by and why?
Supplycompass was founded in 2015 by 2 engineers John and Gus after seeing numerous businesses struggle to find a suitable manufacturer for their business.
For small and medium sized fashion, accessories, and interiors brands, finding the right manufacturer abroad isn’t easy. It takes time to find the right partner and the risk of making the wrong decision can cost brands in time, money and their reputation. When they start working together, issues with communication and product quality, and unexpected costs and delays can leave both sides feeling frustrated. At Supplycompass, we believe technology has the power to revolutionise how brands and manufacturers find each other and work together. We are on a mission to create the world’s most trusted supply chains, to offer the most responsible and innovative solutions and to provide the most seamless experience for brands and manufacturers.
How long has the company been exporting?
We have been in operation for 2.5 years and have been delivering goods to European customers since.
What do you currently export, and where to?
Garments, soft furnishings, wooden products, homeware, and accessories to Europe. We have manufacturing partners around the world but our core focus is India.
What motivated you to start selling overseas, and how long did it take?
At the start of the business I spent 2 years living in Mumbai. I could see how much potential there was to help small and medium sized brands have better access and also to help lift the standard of manufacturing by cherry picking and representing only the best manufacturers.
What is the easiest part of exporting?
I’m not sure any of it is easy! Like with all supply chains there are so many moving parts and therefore coordinating all parties to ensure on time delivery and quality product is one of the biggest challenge – it’s why we built our solution.
And the most challenging part?
Good communication across cultures, professions and time zones.
Have language barriers, currency changes, etiquette and culture ever caused you any difficulties? How did you overcome them?
The way production teams think and work isn’t always compatible with how manufacturers do. Incomplete tech packs and miscommunication over design details causes confusion and mistakes. We’ve created our platform with the aim of bringing more structure and standardisation to production, giving brands greater control and visibility. Our platform enables brands to design whole collections, request samples, make modifications, manage multiple orders and monitor costs and timelines. It makes working together across cultures and time zones easier and reduces mistakes.
Did you get any support when you wanted to trade abroad? Who from, and was it helpful?
We got advice when we initially started out from a business contact about how to establish ourselves in India, which was extremely useful. Understanding the regulatory environment and law of the land is a challenge initially.
What advice would you give to someone just starting to explore overseas markets?
Building strong, trusted partnerships in person. Even in the digital age, nothing can replace meeting face-to-face. Take the time to understand what your partners want and how you can collaborate and communicate better.
Where next? What markets are you looking into and where do you see the company in 5 years time?
Our manufacturing focus is currently India so next we want to go to expand our offering in Vietnam, China, Sri Lanka, Portugal and Eastern Europe.
In 5 years time we would like to the place where brands come to connect and work with the best manufacturers and suppliers around the world.
Published: 19 June 2018