“Collaboration produces added value for us”

Finnish clothing brand Makia manufactures coats in China with help from Nikolai Sourcing. We asked Manna&co’s Logistics, Sourcing & Masterdata Director Mika Martikainen to tell us about how they’ve benefitted from our collaboration.

TO PUT IT CONCISELY, Nikolai Sourcing is our representative in China. In practice, Nikolai Sourcing’s local experts act as intermediaries between us and the factory. They handle contact and translations, forward purchasing orders, schedules, samples and sample comments, for example. In addition, Nikolai Sourcing’s experts search for new material suppliers and new materials from existing suppliers for us.

NIKOLAI SOURCING is familiar with the markets and the textiles and clothing product group in China, which provides added value for us. Nikolai offers us a channel to the service providers that we’re looking for in China.

It’s important to us that Nikolai Sourcing is a Finnish company.”

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that the agent understands the culture, manners, language, and regulatory requirements of the country and market in question. In Chinese procurements, language plays a particularly important role. We have a named contact person at Nikolai Sourcing’s Beijing office that we deal with directly. Our contact person and other experts at Nikolai Sourcing play a key role in translating instructions so that they are suitable and understandable for local factories.

WE HAVE collaborated with Nikolai Sourcing for around ten years, so we’ve fine-tuned our processes and communication is easy. When Makia first went to China, we had enormous difficulties with production arrangements and quality in China. At that time, Nikolai Sourcing played a crucial role in finding suitable factories for us.

NOWADAYS WE MAINLY work with one coat factory that has a good understanding of our needs, quality, and price points. Responsibility plays an important role at Makia and Manna, which Makia joined in 2021. We have joined the amfori BSCI system, which means that the factory Nikolai uses for our coat production is audited by amfori.

IN THEORY, BECAUSE we have collaborated for a long time with just one factory, we could just communicate directly with the factory, but I suspect that we would miss out on a significant amount of contact, and we would lose external verification of the product quality and processes. If we didn’t have Nikolai Sourcing between us and the factory, we would be chained to just one factory and its terms, and we wouldn’t be able to intervene and control things as we can now.

IT’S IMPORTANT TO US that Nikolai Sourcing is a Finnish company. If we come up with a new idea, we can first spar with the Finland office to quickly come up with preliminary schedules and prices.”