Levi’s, Lasers, and Reduced Lead Time

Levi’s, Lasers, and Reduced Lead Time

Levi’s Project FLX uses lasers to give its jeans the worn-in finish.  The technique is not only faster but also more environmentally responsible as it cuts the finishing time from minutes to seconds and involves less chemical formulations.  As a result, the lead time for decisions on jeans is shortened, which allows for on-demand manufacturing and local production.

This post is based on the Engadget article, Levi’s uses lasers to give your jeans an eco-friendly finish, by Jon Fingas, March 5, 2018. Image sources: kadmy/Getty Images and C Squared Studios/Getty Images.

Discussion Questions

1. What are the strategic implications of Levi’s Project FLX with respect to product design?

Guidance: Reduces finishing time and cost; lower environmental impact because fewer chemicals are used; technological innovation means that lasers replace a previously labor- and time-intensive finishing process.

2. What makes Levi’s Project FLX a technological innovation in jean manufacturing?

Guidance: Laser technology automates the labor intensive “worn-in” finishing process, saving production and lead time.  It also allows custom-designed jeans, on-demand manufacturing and local production.

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After 100 Years, a Year is the Limit

After 100 Years, a Year is the Limit

February 18, 2018

L.L. Bean has changed its 106-year old return policy. Returns will now be limited to a one-year time period.

If that sounds generous, keep in mind that for over a hundred years, the company has offered an ‘unlimited’ customer return policy.

Over the last five years, the viral nature of social media has accelerated losses on returns to $250 million. These products are what the company calls “destroy quality”, items so used or damaged they’re sent to landfills.

This post is based on the CBS News article, L.L. Bean changes its unusually generous product return policy, by The Associated Press, February 9, 2018. 

Discussion Questions
1. How might the merchandise return policy change impact L.L Bean’s order winner(s)?

Guidance: Students should review the concept of order qualifiers/order winners.  Ask students to identify the order winner(s) that L.L. Bean had under the old customer return policy.  Students should then compare the new customer return policy to competing firms in the retail industry.  Does the new return policy change L.L. Bean’s order winner(s)?

2. With over $250 million of returns at L.L. Bean over the last five years, identify the supply chain issues created by Continue reading

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