January 20, 2006

The Kangi and the fast fashion trend

Filed under: Marketing,Outsourcing — Administrator @ 1:19 pm

My little sister, Sara, is a doctor who just graduated from Columbia Medical School in New York City – she started a side business with her husband, Mason, called Lil’ Monkey Designs — the company designs and manufacturers baby carriers.

This is their first product – The Kangi.

What is cool is that they did a little market research and came up with two styles that fits NYC’s bi-polar populous: (1) leather (upper west side NYC); and (2) leopard skin (lower east side NYC).

Also, interestingly enough, they went with a manufacturer in the USA rather than outsource to China — my lil’ sister told me it was “…cheaper…” and “…allowed for a faster turn around time…”.

This got me to thinking about the fast retailing (not to be confused with Japanese retailing giant Fast Retailing) trend that made fashion retailer Zara, well Zara. According to an article on Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge website:

This “fast fashion” system depends on a constant exchange of information throughout every part of Zara’s supply chain—from customers to store managers, from store managers to market specialists and designers, from designers to production staff, from buyers to subcontractors, from warehouse managers to distributors, and so on. Zara’s organization, operational procedures, performance measures, and even its office layouts are all designed to make information transfer easy.

It makes sense that the Mainland’s fashion retailers would eventually adopt a similar strategy given the crazy amount of competition and access to abundant manufacturing base (even if a majority of capacity is allocated to manufacturing exports).

Maybe Sara and Mason are on to something — maybe they represent a growing trend in the US (foreshadowing China) — localization.

November 14, 2005

Amazon Mechanical Turk…computers outsource to humans?

Filed under: Outsourcing — Administrator @ 2:48 pm

Amazon has a new service called Amazon Mechanical Turk which is sort of an outsourcing service whereby computers outsource to humans. I signed up and made US$0.21 last week, below is a summary of myAmazon Mechanical Turk activity for the week ending Nov 12, 2005:

Weekly HIT Activity:
– Number of HITs accepted: 7
– Number of HITs returned: 0
– Number of HITs abandoned: 0
– Number of HITs submitted: 7
– Number of HITs approved: 7
– Number of HITs rejected: 0
– Amount earned this week: $0.21

Does anyone remember what Terminator 3 was about…”Rise of the Machines”?

Maybe we are closer to that scenario than we think…

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