The Role of the Merchandiser in an Export House
"Export house" is a business term used primarily in global markets outside the United States to describe a company that develops products for its country's export market. The merchandiser role relates to the wholesale and retail buying and overseeing production of – as the name implies – merchandise. Often, he or she will be the main liaison between production and the parent company export house.
The merchandiser is the middleman between the buyer and industry. She buys the raw materials, ships the finished products and overseas everything in between.
A merchandiser can have both buyer and seller roles. As a buyer for materials needed in production, their duties might include sourcing vendors, securing samples and communicating between the export house and suppliers. In the seller role, the merchandiser helps buyers with developing merchandise specifications for export house orders.
Export house duties can include developing samples and presentation portfolios used to secure prospective buyers. An educational background in design may be sought for an export merchandiser whose primary duty is to assist clients with product development. In the garment industry, for instance, the merchandiser may help a client develop custom specifications for garment designs, including fabric and color selections.
The export house merchandiser's role may also include coordinating at every stage of the manufacturing and production processes. This entails the general flow of work and materials within and among departments. The merchandiser might participate in developing production and shipment schedules and milestones. They might coordinate meetings among department supervisors, designers and sales teams to monitor the progress and completion dates for projects.
The export house merchandiser compares closely to aspects of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics job descriptions for the wholesale and retail buyer. It includes production, planning and expediting clerks and the shipping, receiving and traffic clerk. They might analyze past buying trends, sales records, pricing and merchandise quality to determine value and yield. Duties might also include overseeing the assemblage, addressing, stamping and arranging for transportation to export markets. They might also be expected to ensure that export products comply with the quality control and export specification standards required by national regulators.
The role of the merchandiser in an export house will differ among countries and export houses. An Indian export house will operate under different regulations than an Australian export house. This will shape the work functions of the merchandiser within each market's export house. Some export houses have a home country and international offices. As an example, the export house Mandakini Fashions' home office is located in Mumbai, India, but it has multinational offices in Paris and offices in other parts of India.