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21 November 2008


A must read! A return to American ingenuity and self-reliance. Enough of the bureacratic BS. Let's get down to doing whatever it takes to meeting the customer needs, rather than meeting stakeholder needs,without worrying so much about the latest craze!

Kevin- just as I've spent the last two weeks digesting your reports from the Japanese factories, here you come and blow me away with a report... from a U.S. factory! That was incredible, and like you I really like reading about people that break the mold. Your lesson was perfect: do what works. So many people implement the lean tools (and then claim they're "lean"!) whether they're appropriate or not. So is your next "implementation" going to be to get rid of a glitzy lobby!?

Thanks - I needed a dose of inspiration! Now-- do I dare forward this to my president and CEO?! They're currently visiting potential factory sites in China and Vietnam!

The treatment of their employees is impressive.

Just one observation Kevin. I think part of the reason they can pay their workers so well and offer things like free long distance phone calls is due to the higher prices they charge the consumer.

A quick perusal of men's t-shirts from their on-line catalogue and I was surprised at how expensive they were.

By the looks of the website models and clothing styles, they're definitely targeting a younger, hipper generation who's willing to pay a premium for the trendier clothing, even if it's just a undershirt. For us "old" Generation Xers with young families, I'll continue to buy my cheap undershirts from Wal-Mart, Target, and Old Navy.

Again, just an observation.

This is really impressive. I spend lots of time in Chinese apparel factories, and it's just the opposite... Beautiful lobbies, meeting rooms, showrooms, and company car for the boss. Tons of waste after cutting. Gigantic bulks processed at the same time in cycles of up to 4 weeks. A huge employee turnover at Chinese New Year. Very immature QA procedures, etc etc etc.
Of course, having their own shops helps. But they are intelligently positioned to take advantage of their short cycle and offer the latest designs. I'd be curious to know if they sell part of their output to external clients, and how well they compare to Chinese/India/Bengladeshi imports (in terms of total landed cost)...

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  • Kevin Meyer
    Kevin is a former president of a medical device company and consults and speaks on a variety of lean enterprise topics.
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