Case Study: Jossey Menswear – The Supply Chain Project Essay

Case Study: Jossey Menswear – The Supply Chain Project

Having established themselves as a successful retailer, Jossey Menswear, in keeping with the doctrine of “Nothing endures but change”, attributes their success to the constant changes that they have introduced in their operations. The changes have been undertaken after a careful analysis of the market trends, a sense of consumer demands and the range of available products. While they were projecting successful sales with a contribution of 50% from full price sales (FPS), Jossey Menswear felt the need to further improve their sales margin.

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A significant improvement in sales could be achieved by increasing the proportion of FPS. This implied a need for maximizing the conformance between the customers’ demands and the available products on sale. The article discusses the various issues faced by Jossey Menswear which were detrimental to increasing the sales performance. One major issue identified was the inability of the product line to reflect the changes based on the customers’ demands.

A corrective measure taken in this direction was the adoption of quick response (QR) approaches to supply chain management. Implementation of a QR based system would improve the performance of the supply chain and thus reflect positively on sales.

The article discusses the various initiatives undertaken by the supply chain team at Jossey Menswear and their manufacturing plant to implement QR ideas. In order to test the efficacy of the new idea, a set of performance measures were introduced. While the new idea was not readily embraced by everyone, the article reports observation of positive changes in the supply chain process. Further measures that would help improve the supply chain’s performance in future have been postulated.

1. Significance of QR approach in improving the company’s supply chain performance:

A significant improvement to the company’s supply chain performance in adopting the quick response (QR) approach has been the flexibility of the process. The supply chain process based on QR has helped build flexibility in terms of product sourcing, manufacturing and logistics. The agility of the supply chain is indicated by its rate of response, the spectrum of change and its adaptability to change. Implementation of QR-based supply chain process has also helped minimize the end-to-end lead time and the order-to-delivery lead time. This also results in a minimal spread in cycle times. While the flexibility of the process ensures that the products reflect the ever-changing market dynamics, the agility of the process guarantees that the product delivery timelines are met. The QR approach requires that the various stages involved in the supply chain management process are synchronized. The synchronization among the different stages provides a means of transparency in the process and improved communication between sub-processes. This helps minimize errors in the supply chain process, resulting in an increase in its performance.

2. Appropriateness of Cornwall plant’s approaches to introducing QR ideas:

The Cornwall plant’s approaches to introducing QR ideas have been pertinent to improving the supply chain system as evidenced by the positive improvements observed. The supply chain team’s initiative in asking for the opinion of the workers in the factory opened a platform for people to voice their opinions and also accustom themselves to the new idea. This helped the supply chain team become aware of the support for and the opposition to QR, helping them formulate their approaches to implementing QR. The initial step of partial conversion of the plant to QR-based management was a desirable decision. This gave the team an opportunity to test their ideas without subjecting the plant as a whole to a new idea that could probably not be profitable to business. In addition to gauging the effectiveness of the proposed QR ideas, the ability to make changes to the new QR based system as required by business and the ease of scaling up the process when necessary were additional advantages that ensured that QR ideas would have a fair chance of acceptance. Establishing an active participation from the workers at the plant was crucial to the acceptance of QR ideas. This was achieved by asking the labor force to volunteer for the teams that would work with QR. The act of volunteering not only evinced the workers’ readiness in implementing QR measures but also their ability to adapt themselves to new work methods. For the workers to volunteer for the QR-based work methods, it was necessary to guarantee that their earnings would not be compromised. The guarantee was safeguarded by modifying the payment system to reflect the changes that would be required. Also care was taken to ensure impartial treatment of the workers irrespective of which team they worked with, thus maintaining the morale in the plant.

3. Possible future actions that are worth pursuing:

On observing the positive changes in business due to QR-based supply chain system and its effect on bottom line growth, the idea of increasing the ratio of manufacturing based on QR can be implemented. This step would help improve the supply chain system further while contributing towards an increase in the full price sales volume. A careful analysis of the customer trends and methods to introduce new work force to QR-based production will have to be undertaken before arriving at a numerical estimate of the percentage by which QR-based manufacturing is to be increased. Assimilating market information is crucial to improving the quality of business. The availability of pertinent market information would contribute not only towards accelerating the development process but also help improve the flexibility of the supply chain system. Improving the methods through which market information is acquired in conjunction with historical records and estimating the consumers’ needs would help increase the efficacy of sales. While these approaches concentrate on the supply chain process and its results, there is also a need to minimize the constraints imposed on the designers. Posing constraints on designers serves to curb their creativity and their throughput. The choice of cloth is a constraint whose effects can be minimized by working with the suppliers on cloth development. This initiative would help initiate a meaningful dialogue between the designers and the suppliers which might result in development of cloth that would meet the designers’ requirements. This could also aid in sorting the problems of the machinability of the cloth. Also input from the designers regarding the difficulties they face with a cloth can help suppliers correct the flaws during development, thus improving the supply chain process.

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