ASSISTANT MERCHANDISER MANAGER AT ETHICAL APPAREL AFRICA (EAA)

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Company description 

Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) is a sourcing company that provides international apparel brands with ethical, cost competitive and quality manufacturing solutions in West Africa. Our vision is to demonstrate that ethical manufacturing can and should be done at scale, not just associated with luxury or expensive products. Based in Ghana and Benin, EAA has a dynamic team bringing decades of experience from around the world in product development, quality assurance, account management, social impact, operations and finance.

EAA is working to unlock the tremendous potential of the West Africa apparel industry, supporting African-owned factories to grow exports to the US, UK, and Europe. EAA focuses on developing factories in a lean, sustainable, and ethical way that sets the standard for garment manufacturing in a West African context. We work closely with government and development agencies to develop an ecosystem for industrial growth — including the launch of a Center of Excellence for local skill development and efforts to catalyze investment in an integrated cotton value chain. By 2023 we aim to create 2,500 worthwhile jobs in the apparel sector in West Africa. This is an exciting time to join EAA.

Position overview

The Merchandising team is responsible for identifying new industry clients, securing orders and driving product development to form strong, communicative and mutually beneficial commercial relationships. The Assistant Merchandiser Manager will be based in Accra (Ghana) and will report to the Business Development Director.

In close relationship with the Technical and Sourcing teams, they will be responsible for product development and account management to manufacture EAA orders in both Ghana and Benin. This person will also work closely with partner factories and build their account management capability on an ongoing basis. More specifically they will be accountable for the following:

Sample Development

  • Work with the Sales and Accounts teams to identify new areas of product development and action costing/sampling to pursue these opportunities for new and existing clients.

  • Complete costing tools accurately and quickly, with a goal of delivering costings back to clients within 3 days of enquiry.

  • Complete a risk assessment sheet on all new product in conjunction with the Technical team and share with the rest of the team to address any challenges

  • Follow sample TNAs and take full responsibility in sending the samples to customers on time.

  • Work closely with the Raw Materials (RM) Sourcing Manager to ensure sampling materials reaches the factories that are sampling in time.

  • Provide a complete package to the factories with tech packs, RM and any relevant client manuals in order to help factories finish the samples on time.

  • Take ownership and ensure first right time submissions to the customer to save time and money.

  • Share progress, flag issues on sample development and bring new ideas to improve the style or to improve production feasibility.

  • Plan proactively for the new season sampling and production orders.

  • Guide and support the Technical team in prioritising and producing samples in an efficient manner.

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Critical Path and Order Management

  • Lead on the Critical Path meetings and support the team in meeting weekly deadlines relevant to the Accounts.

  • Proactively plan for and entirely own the Critical Path, alerting and escalating ahead of time when dates look unlikely and analyzing root cause of delays.

  • Work closely with the RM Sourcing Manager and ensure the RM approvals are closed with the customers and RM ordered based on TNA dates. Ensure RM arrives in the factory on time for production.

  • Follow up on the fabric and apparel testing and ensure the product safety to the end customers.

  • Ensure that Pre production meetings happen in the factory with the factory team and tech team on the stipulated time.

  • Work with the technical team to stay closely informed on production status and any updates that are relevant to be shared with the client.

  • Ensure that the CP is updated on a weekly basis and shared with the client and with the factory for all active orders.

  • Work with Finance to keep the Brand P&L for all of the Accounts updated.

  • Proactively update and analyze the Brand P&L to optimize profit performance on all of the Accounts.

  • Work with the logistics team to ensure smooth flow and cost of raw materials in and finished goods out in line with critical path and P&L

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Relationship, Communication and Support

  • Regularly visit and engage with factory partners on product development, production and growth plans. Promote smooth working relationships with factory management.

  • Strengthen collaboration across EAA departments in particular with the Technical team, working together from product development to final inspection.

  • Develop strong relationships with our brand partners through timely, accurate and strategic communications. Seek to understand their business priorities well and how we can adapt and improve to offer excellent customer service.

  • Train vendor factory teams on account management every week

  • Follow up on payments with the customer and ensure there are no payment delays.

Qualifications & Attributes

  • Fluent in English

  • Proven track record of similar position in the industry for at least 5 years

  • Strong understanding of the Apparel Industry, critical paths, sourcing and product development especially for woven products

  • Understanding of logistics processes

  • Preferred experience of working within a developing country/region

  • Attention to detail and ability to analyse data

  • Strong negotiation skills and exceptional communication and presentation skills across cultures

  • Energetic with a passion for working in an enterprise with a social mission

  • Ambitious big picture thinker who is solution driven, wants to work hard, learn and progress

  • Evidence of the following characteristics: Pro-activity, self awareness; resilient and adaptable; persistent and resourceful; able to work under pressure and respect deadlines, apt at both strengthening relationships and resolving problems, poised, active listener; fun to work with; full of integrity; ability to multi-task and thrive in a fast-paced environment

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Benefits

  • Salary level dependent on candidate experience and profile

  • Annual flight allowance

  • Health and repatriation insurance

  • 25 days of annual leave in addition to Ghana national holidays

  • Opportunity to join a key department of an award-winning, dynamic, and mission driven organization that welcomes strategic input from all members

How to apply 

  • Starting date – February 2021

  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis

  • Please send a resume and a specific cover letter for the position to :

[email protected]  with the reference in the subject line “AMM 21”

  • Only completed applications with accurate reference will be considered and only the most qualified candidates shortlisted for interview

  • EAA is an equal opportunity employer, both men and women are encouraged to apply.

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