Instructions: Briefly answer the questions and cite from the VF article and other sources if applicable.
You are about to make a presentation to a group of investors who are thinking about lending VF Brands money to expand operations. Explain the strategies your company has used to gain its current share of the retail garment market and why you chose those strategies. Be sure to include a discussion of your approach to (1) design and marketing of products and (2) production.
“‘For the past few decades, supply chain strategy in apparel was focused on chasing low cost labor from one country to the next. Today, apparel is produced just about everywhere on Earth, and we have basically run out of new “low cost” places to source production – until, of course, penguins learn to sew. We have to start finding cost saving by how we manage our supply chain.’” (Pisano & Adams, 2009, p. 1). Initially we began to diversify from gloves to other products to reach a larger consumer base. We expanded to lingerie then to jeans then to uniforms, backpack, and sportswear. In addition, 2004 was the exact year that we decided to change our strategy to focus on lifestyle apparel. We still manufactured jeans, but we prioritized our marketing and began to outsource our products. In order to make this a sustainable system, designers began to work on the products approximately a year before being placed into stores. Both marketing and the designers were necessary to create products that would appeal to the masses for the next year. We predominantly used own internal manufacturing plants but as we diversified, we realized that it would be more efficient to outsource for some of the brands that we attained. As time went by to maximize our profit we developed the production strategy, the third way, an amalgamation of our internal manufacturing system and our outsourcing. In one situation the third way saved $2 million annually. We were and are a company that finds ways to efficiently expand and maximize our business.
Create a timeline showing the different stages of apparel production. Identify what activities occur for each month or a range of months during a typical production year.
3 months (June to August) – Designers sketch preliminary designs for Fall. Adjustments are made by designers. A prototype of the product is made. More adjustments are made as needed1 month (September) – The final decision of the Fall line is made by the marketing and design team. Decisions are reviewed by brand and coalition4 months (September to December) – Operations determine that sourcing for the products, whether in-house or outsourced. Sample production begins (determines the ins and outs of what is needed and how feasible a product is). When necessary, discussion with the designer about technical issues with the design occurs.2 months (October to November) – Sales and marketing show samples to retailers and wholesalers.1 month (January) – Contracts with wholesalers and retailers are signed.1 to 4 months – Materials are procured for the products.4 months (March to June) – The product is “being cut, sewn, and assembled” (p. 8).2 weeks – The products are sorted and packaged in the distribution center.Up to 2 weeks – The products are transported from center to the USA.1 to 4 weeks (Early July) – The products arrive to retailers.
Describe the workforce that produces your garments. Whom do you employ and who is employed by others, where are they employed (that is, in which countries), what do those employees do, what skills do those employees need, and what do you imagine they are paid?
I employ designers, sales representatives, marketing associates, engineers, seamstresses, safety officers, administrators, and more. My supply chain department is responsible for employing our “external suppliers” (p. 7); this is where “sources for raw materials, fabrics, and accessories” are found and determined, as well as where “final garment assembly” is determined (p. 7). Our external sources are employed in China, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The employees are responsible for providing raw materials (such as cotton) and other materials needed to make clothing and other products (such as backpacks). Other employees are needed to assemble the materials and make the final expected product. The employees need skills such as cutting and sewing. Some also need to know how to use different equipments such as sewing machines. I imagine that they are paid about, $2 per hour, $16 per day, $ 80 per week, if they only work 8 hours per day and only 5 days per week. However, they are probably likely to work more than the average time.
Speculate about the effect that your company has on the cities associated with your supply chain. Identify cities that might be involved and indicate how those cities might be affected by your strategies?
The effect that my company has on cities that are associated with my supply chain is an increase in employment, revenue and skills—for example engineers may go “through a rigorous training program within VF’s manufacturing division” (p. 12). However, some cities may only see a small boost in revenue and employment rates, if the company is not up to par with our standards and we decide to take our business to another city or country. Dhaka (Bangladesh), Gandhinagar (India), and Guangzhou (China). As many companies are chasing quotas, the result may be that my competitors may use the same outsource company as mine, increasing the revenue of said company. The company may expand or the owners diversify into other businesses, allowing the citizens of the city to have more funds for further development. It also provide funds for the employees to eventually better themselves or family with more education, better housing, and other benefits.