J.N. Shapiro’s Resurgence model boasts the “Made in the U.S.A.” label on its movement.
This means that all or almost all the components must be made in the United States. With a combination of science, art, and great attention to detail from design to production, the company hopes to revive the US watchmaking industry and bring back its glory days. As the orders keep coming, the company has expanded its capacity and is optimistic about future growth.
Video Spotlight: Watchmaking is Alive in Inglewood at J.N. Shapiro Watches (May 22, 2023, Los Angeles Times)
This post is based on The New York Times article, A Watch Made in the U.S.A., by K. Beckett, August 9, 2023, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: EmiliaU/iStock/Getty Images.
1. What is the production process used to make the Resurgence model? Justify your answer using the product-process matrix.
Guidance: With an annual output of 36 watches, the production of the Resurgence model is low-volume. According to the article and the company’s Website, clients can choose their preferred combination of movements and decoration styles, and colors can be customized, suggesting high variety for the made-to-order timepieces. The equipment is highly flexible to support the craftsmanship involved in making the watches. The process is therefore a job shop.
2. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of making this luxury watch entirely in the USA.
Guidance: The advantages of making this watch entirely in the US include: shorter lead times, reduced shipping costs, greater control over design and production quality, greater independence in the supply chain, enhanced image, and potential for securing lucrative patents. The disadvantages include: higher labor costs, higher fixed costs, greater share of risk, building and maintaining expertise in several domains, and limited expansion opportunities.
3. What are the quality characteristics of the Resurgence? Do you trust J.N. Shapiro’s ability to control the quality of these watches? Explain.
Guidance: The quality characteristics of the Resurgence model include performance, aesthetics, and special features (e.g., guilloché, design options for movement).
As mentioned in the answer to the previous question, the ability to manufacture all components in-house gives the company greater control over design and production quality. The primary appeal of the watch is its unique craftsmanship. It is therefore crucial that J.N. Shapiro maintain its expert watchmakers’ loyalty and commitment. Having the watchmakers’ initials on the movements certainly fosters pride and accountability.
If global competition for the production of mechanical watches increases, the established know-how as well as the large pool of suppliers, innovators, and talented watchmakers in Switzerland gives Swiss manufacturers a competitive edge. This may constrain J.N. Shapiro to scale up its production, outsource, or limit the special features on its watches, which would negatively affect customers’ perceptions of quality. Therefore, it is necessary for J.N. Shapiro to build brand recognition rapidly while continuously searching for new, distinctive “delighters” (see Kano model) and offering excellent customer service.