Our expert team provides exclusive consultancy services in various countries in Europe. Retailers and fashion brands engage our services because they may need to test the competitiveness of the supply base, move to markets closer to home, source brand new products or ensure their supply chain is ethically compliant.
Castor Holdings helps clients by harnessing internal resources and mobilizing teams ready to develop direct sourcing and quick response channels, and then guide them through change strategies.
Castor Holdings was co-founded in the U.S.A. by Jorge de Silva in 2002 with two ex-colleagues when he left Gap, where he was Director of European Sourcing and Director of Global Compliance for over 15 years; since then he has been managing the UK branch of the firm, establishing a successful blue-chip client base and specializing in sourcing and ethical supply chains. Jorge is an associate of The Chambers, a London based consultancy group supporting retailers and other consumer facing businesses with innovative and strategic consultancy from start-ups to major PLC’s.
To find out more about The Chambers approach in other disciplines, please go to www.the-chambers.com
We are very aware that what we do is commercially sensitive. We don’t advertise our services or solicit work. Most of our assignments result from personal recommendations or professional referrals. We maintain a strict code of confidentiality and all client information is ring-fenced. Our team has extensive experience in the retail and manufacturing industry, so we speak our clients’ language, understand their needs and recognize our relationship with them is key to manage programmes within budget and deliver value. In the past 15 years we have worked with some of the largest and most successful retailers and manufacturers in the UK and abroad, and have developed new methodologies in our field of expertise.
Castor Holdings carries out Sourcing Strategy reviews to help retailers align sourcing to company-wide strategic direction, focus procurement resources and minimize risk. Our strategic plans aim at sourcing the right mix of product from the right markets, identifying the optimal sourcing model and balancing the required supporting structures to achieve delivery of value or decrease in cost of goods. Once the Sourcing Strategy plan is agreed, we proceed to harnessing the right teams to project manage and monitor implementation and savings or target geographical moves.
The practice of in-season trading or quick-response replenishment from Near-East markets are often understood but rarely mastered. The critical path discipline required by buying teams and QR manufacturers alike, good understanding of merchandising processes and procedures and client/supplier integration are essential requirements for successful Quick Response sourcing. The result can be considerable gains in final margins, extended sales of best-selling lines and faster response to fashion trends. Castor helps clients to develop the right processes and tools, to carry out supplier selection and to train buyers and merchandisers to guarantee successful outcomes in Proximity Sourcing.
For companies wishing to set up an ethical compliance function within their Sourcing, Production or Buying departments, Castor Holdings offers a complete HQ program covering policy development, including devising your own Supplier Code of Conduct, staff training and field training, benchmarking own standards against prevailing industry practice. In association with WFX www.wfxondemand.com we assist in the implementation of cloud-based reporting systems for confidential, real-time information on supplier compliance status.
Castor Holdings has a network of experienced compliance auditors covering Europe, North Africa, Near East and India sub-continent including Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In Asia, we work with two independent associates, depending on locations in mainland China. We carry out audits using the clients own standards or other established standards such as the ETI Base Code and WRAP, and can upload results for SEDEX members. A number of our auditors are SA8000 Lead Auditor certified.
As ethical manufacturing becomes a standard requirement by many retailers and brands, unscrupulous manufacturers are increasingly devising new ways to cover up un-ethical practices from auditors, and even being coached by “advisors” in double book-keeping, preparation of records, coaching of workers through intimidation and other covert methods. Castor Holdings can carry out Forensic Audits at the request of clients, when they receive intelligence or when normal auditors suspect such non-compliances, but are not able to verify it. Our forensic audit procedures have been developed by experts with extensive field compliance experience in leading U.S. and European corporations over the past 30 years, and our proven methods of detection are normally followed by conflict resolution rather than confrontation and alienation.