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Pivoting during COVID-19: The Role of Taiwantrade’s ‘Meet Suppliers Online’

Source: Taiwantrade | Updated: 12 October 2020

Since the beginning of the pandemic, one topic that has often been brought up by industry experts as key to surviving COVID-19 is a business’ ability to quickly pivot and adapt to new demands. Such is the case for this Taiwan-based vertically integrated textile manufacturer.

The first pivot for this supplier was to produce high-quality masks to help with the global fight against COVID-19. Behind Taiwan’s COVID-19 success is the continued support from local mask suppliers and textile manufacturers. At its peak, Taiwan's daily production capacity was 20 million masks, up from 1.88 million a day, making it the second-largest global producer of face masks. The Taiwanese supplier has been utilising Taiwantrade’s online matchmaking service, known as ‘Meet Suppliers Online’, to reach global buyers looking for Taiwan-made masks.

Vendor Background
As a global leader in textile technology innovations, the company is dedicated to developing eco-friendly textiles, medical textiles, and foam composite materials. The company also partners with some of the world’s leading sports brands to develop cutting-edge, high-tech sports fabric products. Since founding in 1972, the company has strategically grown its global operation networks, which includes production lines throughout Europe, the Americas, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It maintains its principal headquarters in Taiwan.

 In March, the announcement that the Tokyo Olympics had been postponed as a result of the pandemic sent shock waves across the sports apparel supplier industry: “What happened next was it triggered a wave of order cancellations of our sportswear uniforms and shoes,” says the company’s spokesperson.

Like many major fashion brands, the sportswear producer quickly pivoted from its plan for the Olympics and began mass producing fabric masks to meet increasing global demands. With its industry-leading textile technology and well-distributed manufacturing network, the company was ready to contribute to the fight against coronavirus, but faced a dilemma. Despite having ample resources for mask production, it was lacking effective digital sales channels.

With the help of Taiwantrade’s highly acclaimed ‘Meet Suppliers Online’ service, the supplier was able to re-engage with international buyers in the medical sector at a time when traditional sales channels, like trade shows, face complete disruption. One of the buyers identified was a leading distributor of medical equipment in the US. The California-based company provides medical equipment including masks, hand sanitizers, medical gowns, and FDA-approved gloves for governments and the private sector.

The three key elements that Taiwantrade leveraged to ensure a 80% success rate were:
Its global network of more than 60 trade offices that help receive applications from interested buyer members
Its carefully designed vendor verification process overseen by a government-level trade body
Its professional specialist (PM) team’s rich knowledge of the industry, local supply chain landscape, and the parties’ respective needs.

By pivoting its production focus from sportswear to masks, the supplier was able to successfully adapt to the changes brought about by the pandemic. As the crucial intermediary, Taiwantrade facilitated this shift by providing a new sales channel through its platform.

“Within only two months time, we had four very productive matchmaking sessions with buyers from across the world. This is all thanks to Taiwantrade’s tailor-made online matchmaking service. We’re currently still in close discussion with buyers from the US, Brazil, the Philippines, and Dubai after our initial positive exchanges at the meetings,” says the company’s spokesperson.

“The main reason that we were able to quickly reach out to these interested buyers to confirm their face mask sourcing requirements and set up a meeting was because of the support from our global trade offices,” says the PM in charge of this case.

“Usually, we put it three weeks in advance to prepare and set up a meeting. Buyers can expect to have an initial meeting date set up within a week of submitting the application. Another two weeks will be put into researching and recommending the best possible potential suppliers for buyers to choose from. The whole process is led by Taiwantrade’s most experienced matchmaking specialists.”

Source: Taiwantrade
Jocelyn (jocelyn7@taitra.org.tw)


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