What can Seven-Eleven Japan teach the fashion industry?
A lot, when it comes to how supply chains and sales information, used intelligently, can rev up a business, said Stanford University professor Hau Lee, who offered insight in fast-food mode.
The convenience store was just one example of how apparel brands and retailers can learn from firms that sell everything from fresh food to computer games, but have similar supply chains.
"We are dominated by three major drivers," said Lee, the Thoma professor of operations, information and technology at the university's Graduate School of Business. "The three drivers that make life difficult, and some of you are losing hair because of that."
These drivers are: increasing uncertainties in demand and supply, changes in technology and markets and the need to partner with companies along the supply chain.
On that last point, Lee said: "Very few companies are totally integrated vertically. You need your partners — you need your supply partners, your manufacturing partners, your logistics partners, your retail channel partners — and we are depending on all these partners, but these partners have different interests."
To meet these challenges, Lee said companies must be agile and adaptive enough to deal with changes.
Seven-Eleven Japan manages to pull in sales of about $23 billion annually by reacting to who is in their stores and when, he said.
"They are just a responsive company," said Lee. "They master information knowledge, knowing what people want and they build their logistics system. They deliver three times a day, they change their shelves because their stores are so small."
By knowing what school kids want in the morning, what housewives want in the afternoon and what their husbands pick up on their way home from work, the company became the country's number-one seller of fast food, batteries and pantyhose.
In the case of pantyhose, careful research kept the retailer from making a misstep, said Lee.As sales of pantyhose rose, executives considered expanding the high-margin cosmetics area, but by recording who was buying what, they realized that it was middle-aged men on their way home from work who were buying up stock, no doubt for their wives at home.
Accordingly, Seven-Eleven moved the pantyhose closer to the beer section.
"Agility is about smart information," said Lee.
He also preached diversity, noting supply chains can be broadly understood by answering two questions: Is the production done by the company or outsourced and are the goods made near the market or far away?
"First question is, 'Are you on or are you off?' [and the] second question is, 'Are you in or are you out?'" he said.
In the case of Crocs, the successful shoe company, the answer is 'Yes,' since they do a bit of each in both cases.
"This combination strategy is a powerful one," said Lee. "You do not want to have a one-size-fits-all supply chain."
Supply chains, he said are like people and have two personality types.
Type A is responsive and flexible, but costs more.
Type B is cheaper, but may be slower.
"So what you do is combine the two," he said, noting successful companies have a bit of each.
"Why? Because they want to have their cake and eat it, too," said Lee. "They want to have the cost efficiency and they want to have flexibility, responsiveness and speed."
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)