Archive for January, 2013

Case Study: OXFORD INDUSTRIES claims 85% increase in Supply Planning Efficiency

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment


Oxford Industries: Buttoning Up the Supply Chain

Oxford Industries, Inc.

Oxford Industries is a $1 billion + international apparel company with a diverse portfolio of owned and licensed lifestyle brands, company-owned retail operations and a collection of private-label and licensed-apparel businesses. Oxford brands include:

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Revenues $1.085 billion Y/E 2011

As of January 28, 2012, Oxford operated 96 Tommy Bahama, 16 Lilly Pulitzer and 16 Ben Sherman retail locations, including outlet locations for Tommy Bahama and Ben Sherman. They anticipate further investments in Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and Ben Sherman to increase the retail store footprint of each of the brands and to further enhance each brand’s e-commerce operations. In addition to Oxford’s direct to consumer operations, they distribute their products through several wholesale distribution channels, including better department stores, specialty stores, national chains, specialty catalogs, mass merchants and Internet retailers.

Business Challenge

Oxford Industries’ legacy business divisions operate complex global supply chains. Due to    manufacturing complexities, Oxford realized the need to improve and streamline its global supply chain planning processes, so they chose JDA Software Group, Inc., a leader in supply chain management:

Following are are excerpts from the JDA case study on Oxford:

Business Solutions chosen by Oxford

JDA® Demand and JDA® Master Planning

Business Benefits according to Oxford CIO:

  1. Improved forecast accuracy
  2. Increased sales
  3. Optimized inventory management processes
  4. Improved demand and supply planning processes
  5. Reduced operational costs
  6. Increased customer satisfaction

Quantifiable Benefit

85 percent improvement in planning efficiency

“The flexibility and scalability of JDA’s Demand and Master Planning solutions can serve to improve the demand and supply planning processes for any company, and provide the opportunity to increase sales and reduce operational costs through better inventor management at the wholesale and retail levels.”

John Baumgartner

Chief Information Officer

Oxford Industries.

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January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

Showrooming leads to online sales

The rise of ecommerce has spawned numerous new strategies in how the modern consumer buys. Along with mobile shopping, showrooming has become a fashionable technique among many consumers, and according to new research, it leads to more internet sales for online retailers ready to accept ecommerce payments.

New research by the IBM Institute of Business Value found showrooming drives 50 percent of online purchases. Showrooming entails testing or trying out a product in store and then buying online. The study incorporated findings from Australia and found that affluent males between 26- and 36-years-old are the most likely to showroom products.

The penchant for showrooming further underscores the need for retailers to become multi-channel businesses, accomplishable with a merchant gateway system. Research found one in four showrooming respondents intended to buy from a bricks-and-mortar, one in three from a pure-play online site and two of three from a multi-channel retailer.

Overall, ecommerce activity was strong among the survey participants. While 80 percent did indicate the last purchase they made was in-store, 35 percent were unsure whether their next would be physical or internet-based. A full 9 percent had already decided they would go with ecommerce.

Jason Jeffries
24 January 2013 
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And More on Showrooming in the UK and China

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Was HMV the First Victim of Showrooming?


January 22, 2913 by Peter Ballard

ImageShowrooming, the practice of using a shop to browse and research, but buying from a cheaper online store later, has been a hot topic in the retail sector recently. Our own research, conducted just before Christmas, showed for the first time the true cost of Showrooming in the UK.

With one in five shoppers saying it was something they had done, and nearly half of those ending up buying elsewhere, nearly 10 per cent of sales are walking out of the door as a direct result of showrooming activities. So it is no surprise that those retailers who seem least well equipped to deal with that loss are finding it hard to stay in business.

And HMV looks like a prime example. Almost their entire product line is easily found at lower prices on Amazon and other online retailers, and reliable and often free next day postal delivery, there are no compelling reasons to pay more just to own it today. HMV became a great place to while away half an hour looking for inspiration, but not a place to pay over the odds for a purchase.

But not only did HMV fail to read early enough the changing habits of shoppers for CDs, DVDs and games, they also failed to put in place an adequate online offering of their own. By failing to invest in ecommerce, you could say HMV lost their customer twice. Once when that customer decided they would switch their purchase behavior from High Street to online, and again when that customer made a decision on which online retailer to buy from.

So could they have done anything differently? I would argue yes. HMV had an inherent advantage over other retailers, in their links with the music industry and distributors. They could have built a unique online experience, offering a level of rich and exclusive content for music fans, which would have been unmatched by rivals. They could have been an early player in the download space, another behavior change that they failed to read and react to.

HMV’s problem, like Comet and Jessops before them, and like Blockbuster and I am sure others to come (Game anyone?) is that they failed to understand and respond to changes in consumer shopping behaviour. The lesson for all retailers is that only by investing in gaining a deep and insightful understanding of the shopping behaviors and preferences of your customers, can you design shopping experiences that keep them in your store, physically or virtually.

Peter Ballard is managing partner of experience design agency, Foolproof. This article first appeared on

 Chinese lead way on showrooming

January 22nd, 2013 by admin

IBM research found that close to half of online purchases resulted from showrooming, with consumers browsing goods in a store, but ultimately buying them online. Almost a quarter of online shoppers surveyed said they intended to buy their items in the store, but ultimately purchased on the Net, largely due to price and convenience.China showrooming
Interestingly, although a global phenomenon, there is a higher incidence of showrooming in China (26%) and India (13%) than in the US (7%), IBM found.
“Today’s consumer is sophisticated and opportunistic, navigating between store and online environments interchangeably to meet their shopping needs of the moment,” says Jill Puleri, global retail leader, IBM Global Business Services. “To satisfy clients, retailers must deliver a consistent, convenient shopping experience across each consumer touchpoint, extending from the store to online and back again. The key is using data and analytics to better understand the behavior and preferences of shoppers to close the sale.”

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Survey: Younger Shoppers Increasingly Using Mobiles To Buy And Compare

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Here’s another survey on Showrooming, or M-Commerce as it is increasingly being called, conducted in the UK and the US by digital marketing group Econsultancy.

Survey: Younger Shoppers Increasingly Using Mobiles To Buy And Compare


Friday, September 28th, 2012

ImageThe rising star of mulitchannel retail is mobile, according to a survey of U.S. and U.K. consumers conducted by a digital marketing group Econsultancy. It’s not a particularly surprising finding — given the capabilities and pervasiveness of today’s smartphones — but the findings underline the expanding role mobiles are playing in shoppers’ lives.

While the proportion of consumers actually using a mobile to make a purchase remains a minority — just 28% of U.S. and 25% of U.K. respondents said they have done so in the 2012 survey — this group of m-payers is growing rapidly, having doubled since the 2011 survey when the proportions were 12% and 13% respectively.

It’s also a group dominated by younger shoppers. Breaking this year’s result down by age, the survey shows that approaching half of 18-34 year olds have used their phone to buy something — a much larger proportion that the roughly a quarter of 35-54 year olds who said they have done so.Image

A clear thread running through the research is that younger shoppers are more likely to involve their mobiles in their next purchase.

When polled on whether they have used a mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping, the 18-34 age group again emerges as a clear leader — with a majority (61% of U.S. shoppers, 51% of U.K.) having used their phone in this way. Only a minority of shoppers in older age group brackets said they had done so.Image

The survey also shows a clear preference for channel choice among younger shoppers — when asked how important it is to them to be able to buy from a retailer via different outlets, such as in store, by mobile and online, the 18-34 age-group emerges as the clear leader again.

One interesting finding from the research is that mobiles aren’t viewed as a great back-up option when a shopper is out and about and has just failed to find what they’re after in a store. In this instance, the vast majority of shoppers would go and look in another store to try and get their retail fix, while around a third would wait and search online when they got home. Only a fractional sub-10% would turn to their phone to try to locate the product, the survey found.



Shoppers are turning to their phones for price comparison and reviews though, according to the survey — suggesting consumers are getting increasingly savvy about what and where they buy thanks to the info they can tap into via the device in their pocket. Where the price and quality of a potential purchase is concerned, shoppers appear happy to spend time using their phone before parting with their cash. The survey found half of U.S. shoppers have used their mobile to compare a price or read a review when out shopping, along with 43% of U.K. shoppers.Image

This price research role for mobiles has also expanded very rapidly in the last year: only a fifth (20%) of U.S. shoppers polled in the 2011 survey had used their phones to compare prices or read reviews while out shopping (and just 19% of U.K. shoppers had).

Another interesting finding is that mobile websites are the preferred retail vehicle for shoppers vs apps — with the vast majority of U.S. and U.K. shoppers preferring to use websites, and only around a third preferring apps.

This app gap could have several explanations — such as the prevalence of retail mobile sites vs retail apps; the need for retailers to develop multiple apps to serve different mobile OSes; and the challenges of app discoverability vs the relative simplicity of online search.Image

The online survey polled around 1,000 respondents apiece in the U.S. and the U.K., and was conducted between July and August 2012.

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Outsourcing and Reshoring News

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

After Decades of Sending Work across the World, Companies are Rethinking Their Offshoring Strategies



Tamzin Booth Jan 19th 2013

EARLY NEXT MONTH local dignitaries will gather for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a facility in Whitsett, North Carolina. A new production line will start to roll and the seemingly impossible will happen: America will start making personal computers again. Mass-market computer production had been withering away for the past 30 years, and the vast majority of laptops have always been made in Asia. Dell shut two big American factories in 2008 and 2010 in a big shift to China, and HP now makes only a small number of business desktops at home.

The new manufacturing facility is being built not by an American company but by Lenovo, a Imagehighly successful Chinese technology group. Founded in 1984 by 11 engineers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it bought IBM’s ThinkPad personal-computer business in 2005 and is now by some measures the world’s biggest PC-maker, just ahead of HP, and the fastest-growing.

Lenovo’s move marks the latest twist in a globalization story that has been running since the 1980s. The original idea behind offshoring was that Western firms with high labor costs could make huge savings by sending work to countries where wages were much lower (see article). Offshoring means moving work and jobs outside the country where a company is based. It can also involve outsourcing, which means sending work to outside contractors. These can be either in the home country or abroad, but in offshoring they are based overseas. For several decades that strategy worked, often brilliantly. But now companies are rethinking their global footprints.

The first and most important reason is that the global labor “arbitrage” that sent companies rushing overseas is running out. Wages in China and India have been going up by 10-20% a year for the past decade, whereas manufacturing pay in America and Europe has barely Imagebudged. Other countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, still offer low wages, but not China’s scale, efficiency and supply chains. There are still big gaps between wages in different parts of the world, but other factors such as transport costs increasingly offset them. Lenovo’s labour costs in North Carolina will still be higher than in its factories in China and Mexico, but the gap has narrowed substantially, so it is no longer a clinching reason for manufacturing in emerging markets. With more automation, says David Schmoock, Lenovo’s president for North America, labor’s share of total costs is shrinking anyway.

Second, many American firms now realize that they went too far in sending work abroad and need to bring some of it home again, a process inelegantly termed “reshoring”. Well-known companies such as Google, General Electric, Caterpillar and Ford Motor Company are bringing some of their production back to America or adding new capacity there. In December Apple said it would start making a line of its Mac computers in America later this year.

Choosing the right location for producing a good or a service is an inexact science, and many companies got it wrong. Michael Porter, Harvard Business School’s guru on competitive strategy, says that just as companies pursued many unpromising mergers and acquisitions until painful experience brought greater discipline to the field, a lot of chief executives offshored too quickly and too much. In Europe there was never as much enthusiasm for offshoring as in America in the first place, and the small number of companies that did it is in no rush to return.

Firms are now discovering all the disadvantages of distance. The cost of shipping heavy goods halfway around the world by sea has been rising sharply, and goods spend weeks in transit. They have also found that manufacturing somewhere cheap and far away but keeping research and development at home can have a negative effect on innovation. One answer to this would be to move the R&D too, but that has other drawbacks: the threat of losing valuable intellectual property in far-off places looms ever larger. And a succession of wars and natural disasters in the past decade has highlighted the risk that supply chains a long way from home may become disrupted.

Third, firms are rapidly moving away from the model of manufacturing everything in one low-cost place to supply the rest of the world. China is no longer seen as a cheap manufacturing base but as a huge new market. Increasingly, the main reason for multinationals to move production is to be close to customers in big new markets. This is not offshoring in the sense the word has been used for the past three decades; instead, it is being “onshore” in new places. Peter Löscher, the chief executive of Siemens, a German engineering firm, recently commented that the notion of offshoring is in any case an odd one for a truly international company. The “home shore” for Siemens, he said, is now as much China and India as it is Germany or America.

Companies now want to be in, or close to, each of their biggest markets, making customized products and responding quickly to changing local demand. Pierre Beaudoin, chief executive of Bombardier, a Canadian maker of airplanes and trains, says the firm used to focus on cost savings made by sending jobs abroad; now Bombardier is in China for the sake of China.

Lenovo, as a Chinese company, has its own factories in China. The reason it is moving some production to America is that it will be able to customize its computers for American customers and respond quickly to them. If it made them in China they would spend six weeks on a ship, says Mr Schmoock.

Under this logic, America and Europe, with their big domestic markets, should be able to attract plenty of new investment as companies look for a bigger local presence in places around the world. It is not just Western firms bringing some of their production home; there is also a wave of emerging-market champions such as Lenovo, or the Tata Group, which is making Range Rover cars near Liverpool, that are coming to invest in brands, capacity and workers in the West.

Such changes are happening not only in manufacturing but increasingly in services too. Companies may either outsource IT and back-office work to other companies, which could be in the same country or abroad, or offshore it to their own centers overseas. Software programming, call centers and data-centre management were the first tasks to move, followed by more complex ones such as medical diagnoses and analytics for investment banks.

As in manufacturing, the labor-cost arbitrage in services is rapidly eroding, leaving firms with all the drawbacks of distance and ever fewer cost savings to make up for them. There has been widespread disappointment with outsourcing information technology and the routine back-office tasks that used to be done in-house. Some activities that used to be considered peripheral to a company’s profits, such as data management, are now seen as essential, so they are less likely to be entrusted to a third-party supplier thousands of miles away.

Coming full circle


GE’s New Technology Center in Detroit

Even General Electric is reversing its course in some important areas of its business. In the 1990s it had pioneered the offshoring of services, setting up one of the very first “captive”, or fully owned, offshore service centers in Gurgaon in 1997. Up until last year around half of GE’s information- technology work was being done outside the company, mostly in India, but the company found that it was losing too much technical expertise and that its IT department was not responding quickly enough to changing technology needs. It is now adding hundreds of IT engineers at a new center in Van Buren Township in Michigan.

This special report will examine the changing economics of offshoring in the corporate world. It will show that offshoring in its traditional sense, in search of cheaper labor anywhere on the globe, is maturing, tailing off and to some extent being reversed. Multinationals will certainly not become any less global as a result, but they will distribute their activities more evenly and selectively around the world, taking heed of a far broader range of variables than labor costs alone.

That offers a huge opportunity for rich countries and their workers to win back some of the industries and activities they have lost over the past few decades. Paradoxically, the narrowing wage gap increases the pressure on politicians. With labor-cost differentials narrowing rapidly, it is no longer possible to point at rock-bottom wages in emerging markets as the reason why the rich world is losing out. Developed countries will have to compete hard on factors beyond labor costs. The most important of these are world-class skills and training, along with flexibility and motivation of workers, extensive clusters of suppliers and sensible regulation.

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Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Will Shake Up Retail

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery Will Shake Up Retail

Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Will Shake Up Retail

By Theodore F. di Stefano
E-Commerce Times
01/17/13 5:00 AM PT

The hard fact is that we are now pretty far down the road to an online economy. More and more people realize that Amazon’s prices are hard to beat. When they can couple Amazon’s prices with same-day delivery, would you be willing to pay a little more for that same-day delivery and stay in the comfort of your home and, with just a few clicks, order merchandise to be delivered that very day?

 I recently went to a local Staples store to purchase a cartridge for my HP laser printer. The cost was about US$80, including sales tax. While I was driving home, it suddenly dawned on me that I should have ordered the cartridge from Amazon at a much lower price.

As soon as I arrived home, I searched the Amazon site for suitable alternatives to the costly cartridge that I had just purchased. Sure enough, I was able to buy two laser printer cartridges for a total of $16. In order to take advantage of Amazon’s free shipping, I increased my order a tad by buying two boxes of copy paper. Total cost, about $25. Needless to say, I returned my costly Staples purchase the next day.

The point is, if Amazon is currently so competitive, what will happen to the retail marketplace when it becomes even more competitive when same-day delivery becomes ubiquitous?

Same-Day Delivery and Its Ramifications

The current Amazon model, as I see it, is to build warehouses — distribution centers — in as many states as practicable in order to have their merchandise as close as possible to the end user, the buyer. This change in direction for Amazon puts additional pressure on the big-box stores and other retailers. Just think how easy it was for me to return my printer cartridge to Staples and order it from Amazon.

I realize that some people still want to see and feel a product before they buy it. Yet, online retail sales have skyrocketed to such an extent because more and more people are becoming comfortable with ordering certain merchandise from the comfort of their homes with a virtual click or two.

So many of the products that Staples, Walmart and other retailers sell are so-called fungible goods, interchangeable products. With that in mind, it seems that a large portion of the merchandise that these retail behemoths sell can be purchased online. My guess is that we’ll see more and more of the large retailers increasing their online exposure and not stressing their bricks and mortar presence as much.

Large Retailers at a Disadvantage

What’s a large retailer to do? They are already highly invested in real estate, including warehouses that supply their stores. If they are to successfully compete with Amazon, they would likely have to open additional warehouses in order to efficiently supply their online customers. Even if they didn’t have to build additional warehouses, they will still be at a disadvantage to Amazon because Amazon needs no actual retail presence. They’re doing just fine with their virtual presence — their online presence.

We’ve probably seen images of Amazon employees plying around large warehouses on tricycles. They travel miles each day, picking out various products and tossing them into their large baskets so that they can fill orders. The products are brought by them to the shipping department, which then concerns itself with the addressing, packaging and shipping.

But, not anymore! In March of 2012, Amazon announced that it was purchasing Kiva Systems, a specialized maker of robots that services warehouses. The purchase price was $775 million in cash.

One can just imagine how Amazon’s future warehouses will look. Robots going from bin to bin picking out and picking up merchandise and carrying that merchandise to the shipping department. This should ultimately bring down Amazon’s cost of shipping in a noticeable way. Just think, robots don’t receive any fringe benefits, they receive no vacation pay, Amazon doesn’t have to pay workers’ compensation on them. We can go on and on with this analysis. Suffice it to say, not only should Amazon’s shipping costs be noticeably reduced by these robots, but perhaps the speed of shipping will go up, assuming that the robots can move along faster than someone on a tricycle.

Computerized Robots

I have no doubt that the robots in the future Amazon warehouses will be totally plugged into Amazon’s formidable computer infrastructure. This will create instant tracking of an order throughout the factory, assuming that Amazon doesn’t already have that capacity with its present workforce.

Perhaps the Amazon robots’ job description will go beyond what Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment described when he said: “Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow.” Clark also said that “Kiva shares our passion for invention.”

My guess is that the robots will be doing much more than bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow. I don’t see why they couldn’t do much more, giving the state of robotics in the United States today.

What’s a Retailer to Do?

I wish I had the answer to that question. I’m certainly not predicting the imminent demise of the large retailers. They have no doubt been thinking about what I am presently pondering. The hard fact is that we are now pretty far down the road to an online economy. More and more people realize that Amazon’s prices are hard to beat.

When they can couple Amazon’s prices with same-day delivery, would you be willing to pay a little more for that same-day delivery and stay in the comfort of your home and, with just a few clicks, order merchandise to be delivered that very day?

It’s like having a genie in a bottle, rubbing the bottle and saying, today I want …

Good luck! 

Categories: Uncategorized

Caution! Your Levi’s May Contain Measurable Caustic (and even potentially CANCER causing) Chemicals !

January 13, 2013 Leave a comment

NOTE: This is a re-posting of a blog by Laura Kenyon from Greenpeace International.

ImageYou’ve probably never heard of halogenated anilines and perfluorinated chemicals. In addition to being mouthfuls to pronounce, both are toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and life, both in water and on land. Some anilines can become carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, and several perfluorinated chemicals are known to be toxic for the reproductive and nervous systems of mammals.


Even though these chemicals might be unfamiliar, there is a chance you are already in a close relationship with them, as they may have been used in the manufacturing of the clothes you are wearing.

These hazardous chemicals were both found in water samples taken in the textile heartland of China, in the coastal Zhejiang Province. That’s where the connection to your clothes comes in. Many popular global fashion labels, including Levi’s, Calvin Klein and GAP, source textiles from the manufacturing facilities in the area where the samples were taken, as shown in the Greenpeace International report “Toxic Threads: Putting Pollution on Parade.” And that means that many of us are wearing toxic fashion.

Even though China has a large and thriving textile industry that supplies both the domestic and the international market with clothes, there is a severe lack of information about the kinds of chemicals being used and released into the environment there. There is also very little information about how the hazardous chemicals used to make our clothes are dealt with. At the moment, China relies heavily on wastewater treatment plants to deal with discharges from textile manufacturing facilities in Zhejiang Province.

While these may be effective for certain kinds of pollution, like sewage or biological waste, toxic chemicals such as many PFCs are especially dangerous because they can survive the treatment system meant to clean the water and pass directly out into the environment. Pollution of water is happening on a massive scale, with almost 70% of Chinese lakes, rivers, waterways and reservoirs affected by some kind of water pollution.

The water samples containing toxic chemicals were taken at the discharge pipe of a wastewater treatment plant being used by factories in a large industrial estate, most ofwater dye which are textile manufacturing facilities. So we know that these chemicals are entering the environment in discharges from the treatment facility.

The problem is tracking down the culprits.

All industrial facilities in the area put their discharges through the same wastewater treatment plants. When they are all pooled together, it is impossible to know which toxic chemical is coming from what facility. Effectively, they hide in the crowd. And it is easy for suppliers and brands that are buying products from these facilities to plead ignorance when there is no way to connect a particular discharge of a hazardous chemical to an individual facility. But it is no excuse for toxic pollution to continue.

Our clothes don’t need to come with these toxic accessories: hazardous chemicals that enter the environment both as discharges from the manufacturing facilities, but also potentially as residue that is washed out when we clean our clothes at home. There are alternatives, but first the manufacturing facilities, suppliers and fashion brands have to commit to transparency. The real challenge is the complete lack of public information available at the moment.

A change is coming

Just last week – thanks to people power — Zara, the world’s largest fashion retailer, committed to detox its supply chain and products and to eliminate all uses and releases of hazardous chemicals by 2020. What’s more, the brand also committed to publicly disclose pollution data from at least 100 of its suppliers in the Global South, including at least 40 in China, by the end of 2013. This transparency is a real breakthrough in the way clothing is manufactured and is an important step in providing local communities, journalists and officials with the information they need to ensure that local water supplies are not turned into public sewers for industry.

It is also the start of something bigger.

For too long, global brands have been able to hide behind industrial smokescreens and continue to make their products against a backdrop of toxic water pollution. Even labels that have been around for over a century and who make some of the most popular clothing items on the planet have put more effort into revitalizing their brand image in recent years than they have into taking care of the negative impacts their products are having on our environment.

Enough is enough

Around the world, consumers, activists and fashionistas are uniting behind the idea that the clothes we buy should carry a story we can be proud of, not the residues of hazardous chemicals. These people are looking for action from brands, and are taking action themselves. Brands that want to keep their customers therefore need to do more than make a positive statement or write a policy — they need to wear this problem on their sleeves. This means publicly talking about the problem and solutions, publicly disclosing information about exactly what chemicals are being released throughout their supply chains, and becoming active pioneers for toxic-free fashion.

Read more:

Levi’s Pledges to Detoxify in 8 Years by 2020

by Claire Kerker January 12, 2013

Greenpeace International stepped in to clean up the production line of yet another clothing giant: Levi Strauss & Co., thanks to their advocacy, the voices of Care2 members who signed this petition, and hundreds of thousands of people taking the issue to the street (including a dramatic rally in front of Levi’s HQ)

Greenpeace is now  pleased to announce that Levi Strauss & Co. will stop using the chemicals that cause toxic water pollution by 2020 (that’s 8 years, right?).

Levi’s is setting a great example for other companies targeted by Greenpeace’s Detox campaign, which aims to make big brand clothing toxin-free by 2020. As early as the end of June 2013, Levi’s will begin requiring disclosure of pollution data from its largest suppliers in China, Mexico and elsewhere in the Global South while completely eliminating hazardous chemicals by providing non-hazardous alternatives.

They outlined their full commitment here, noting that they plan to take move a step beyond their own facilities:Levi's Pocket

Levi Strauss & Co. also commits to support systemic (i.e. wider societal and policy) change to achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (associated with supply chains and the lifecycles of products) within one generation or less. Thus, our commitment includes investment in moving industry, government, science and technology to deliver on that systemic change.

This is a drastic and welcome change from the company’s previous response, which was to merely seek out new methods to control the toxins used in clothing production. It’s not just the consumers who need to be concerned, though. The greatest threat was to the workers who inhaled and handled the toxins on a daily basis. The factories are a public health concern as well – waste-water discharge affects everyone living near these industrial facilities.

What’s still in store

Many of the large brands called on to change their production methods have not responded in kind. We need to keep pushing for brands like Calvin Klein, GAP, and Victoria’s Secret to get on board. Hopefully the rest of the targeted brands will take note from Levi’s and other brands, such as Zara, Esprit, and Mango, holding themselves accountable for their clothing’s pollution.

Congratulations on this accomplishment, Care2!

Read more:

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The Three Requirements of Sustainable APPAREL Manufacturing

January 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The Three Requirements of Sustainable APPAREL Manufacturing:

  1. Supply Chain Agility
  2. Product Profit
  3. Resource Conservation

Traditional sustainability philosophy is focused on water and energy. Although, we all recognize that resource conservation and protection is one of the fundamental foundations of a sustainability plan, the role of supply structure and profitability cannot be discounted. The ability to sustain and grow a business is critical to the continued support of a successful environmental impact plan. Unfortunately, few Americans understand that traditional textile dyeing and post-processing poses a catastrophic threat to our world’s rivers, lakes, and streams.Image
Every colored shirt or blouse in the world has consumed 70-100 gallons of fresh water in the traditional textile dyeing and finishing processes, making the textile industry a giant polluter of water and air. Since only about half of brand name apparel is sold at full price, much of that left after all markdowns are taken is shredded and ends up dumped in landfills. Millions of pounds of excess apparel inventory representing billions of gallons of wasted water are dumped everyday.
This unsustainable supply chain structure of over production, discount, and finally dump has to be the first target in stopping and reversing this continuous environmental destruction. Failure to design a profitable and economically sustainable supply chain alternative forces the advocates of social responsibility to fight an uphill battle depending on the “good will” of the industry to change the status quo. It is very doubtful that either government or industry will find the political will to change anything without a major profit incentive.

Here are the Three Requirements for change:

1) Change the Supply Chain Structure

Traditional apparel manufacturing is a lengthy and very expensive process. There are dozens of steps in the process, which must occur in a long supply chain with many locations and environmentally damaging production methods. The wash/dye wash process for coloring textiles has become increasingly more caustic and toxic as new more durable fibers and performance constructions have appeared. The process of changing colors and cleaning the massive dye appliances and flushing the support systems to avoid color contamination takes hours and vast quantities of water. Washing  fabric to remove the catalysts, chemicals and excess dye is a water intensive process that is often shortcut to reduce time and cost.

These shortcuts can leave caustic and toxic chemicals in the fabric when it is cut and sewn into apparel. See the latest Greenpeace study:

ImageThe time and cost of color changes in this chemical based coloration system forces suppliers to order in large quantities calculated to make this mass production system efficient. This pursuit of efficiency however produces massive water use and toxic waste along with surplus product. Chemistry based mass production coloration technology dominates the entire supply chain and dictates the pace and efficiency of apparel production. Conventional manufacturing can take many months and thousands of dollars in expense before the first garment is ever produced and sold.

This traditional supply chain is driven by risk-based forecasting and planned overproduction at every link. Since the advent of the industrial revolution apparel companies have used every means available to reduce the cost of manufacturing. They have squeezed about as far as they can. Up until recently there have been no viable alternative to this overstock, discount and dump retail cycle.

Recent technology discoveries in Southern California have pioneered the use of physics not chemistry as a basis for permanent coloration of the new man-made fibers that dominate the apparel market. Research at Critical Mass Manufacturing, Inc. (CMM) has harnessed the energy stored from the original formation of man made fiber to provide a replacement for the toxic chemicals and water used in conventional technology. This proprietary new process, dubbed Active Tunnel Coloration (ACT) requires no pre-treatment or post coloration processing and produces colorfast bleachable apparel in any color or print with no toxic waste or effluents. The most important feature of ACT technology is its ability to change colors or prints on the fly without the costly cleanups that force overproduction. Changing coloration from the conventional supply based chemistry system to demand based clean production removes the basic cause of massive fresh water use and world-wide pollution. Adoption of this new technology however does not depend on the obvious environmental merits… Adoption depends on increased profits.

2) Increase Profits
Demand manufacturing requires a massive change to today’s supply chain paradigm. Using information to drive production requires agility not inherent to today’s mass production uniformity. If one accepts that the fundamental goal of commerce is obtaining profitability, then one must construct a synchronized marketing and manufacturing system that provides product value and a Imagedramatic increase in gross margin simultaneously.
Touch screens located within product area combat “showrooming” by offering color, fit and print customization with delivery to home or store pickup.
Changing to Demand and Supply rather than supply and demand strategy provides massive savings in the previously unreachable costs at wholesale and retail finished goods inventories. Now this goal is reachable with Purchase Activated Manufacturing (PAM).
PAM enables total elimination of the gross margin killers of finished goods inventory costs, supply chain transportation, retail markdowns and inventory shrinkage and the resulting profit increases are dramatic.
Just the inventory cost reduction of not producing finished product in every color and every size will double the gross margin at retail.

Ultimately this strategy can define the future of apparel shopping at bricks and mortar stores.

The Apparel Merchandising and Management Department (AMM) at Cal Poly Pomona and Critical Mass Mfg. have incorporated a consortium called Apparel Made 4 You, Inc.(AM4U). This consortium is made up of companies that are the leaders in apparel and digital manufacturing technologies. AM4U’s members are collaborating on the development of a fully Integrated Mini-Factory model (IMF) where NOTHING will be manufactured until it is actually paid for in advance. IMF involves the integration of emerging but proven technologies and ongoing education in the fields of body scanning, 3D CAD, virtual reality fitting, cloud computing, ecommerce, computerized knitting, waterless digital dyeing and printing of original art and design. Further explanation and videos available at:

profitAll of this re-engineering of apparel supply chains will provide consumers with perfect fit and garment customization at little or no additional expense; but most importantly, companies using PAM and IMF will begin to cut wastefull inventory costs and get a huge 2x increase in wholesale gross profits and a 3-4x increase in retail profits!.cash

3) Implement True Conservation

According to Vanessa Delgado at, the world’s leading business community for sustainability:

“Water is on course to be scarcer than oil by 2030, with demand outstripping water supply by 40%. Unless more sustainable water management practices are adopted, 45% of projected 2050 global GDP at 2000 prices could be at risk – equal to $63 trillion.

Traditional coloring of fabric uses an over abundance of water equivalent to 50 to 600 times the weight of the fabric to accomplish normal dyeing/printing and is consuming vast amounts of the world’s increasingly scarce supply of fresh water. This has caused the EPA to regulate apparel manufacturing out of business in the US and into other countries whith weak or no environmental controls”.

In short, if just one shirt or blouse per capita for the US population was made using AM4U’s waterless process, there would be billions of gallons of fresh water saved and millions of pounds of toxic chemicals prevented from leeching into the ground.

These technology discoveries and innovations that support the demand strategies are the result of using physics instead

Waterof chemistry to color and print textile products. The harnessing of the energy stored inside the fiber and then using it to permanently color, print and label the apparel in a single pass without pre or post treatment revolutionizes apparel manufacturing’s impact on the environment. It opens the way for countries all over the world without available unpolluted water to begin domestic production without environmental cost or risk.

Categories: Uncategorized

Do People Actually Shop on Phones? The Answer Is Decidedly Yes

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Do People Actually Shop on Phones? The Answer Is Decidedly Yes


In e-commerce, the mobile revolution is here.

In 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, an increase of 81 percent from the year before, according to eMarketer, which compiles data from 120 sources that track commerce.Image

That is still a minority of total e-commerce sales. Mobile accounted for just 11 percent of e-commerce and is expected to reach 15 percent this year. But eMarketer predicts that by 2016, mobile will be $87 billion, or a quarter of all e-commerce.

The shift is significant for a type of shopping riddled with challenges — like small screens that make it hard to view items and type. It reflects the consumers’ shift to doing everything from work to play on mobile devices.

“Particularly in the second half of the year and in the holiday season, there were signs that smartphones and tablets in particular had made much more progress than people had previously thought we would,” said Clark Fredricksen, vice president of communications at eMarketer.

And mobile shoppers spend a surprising amount when using these devices — an average of $329 per order when on tablets and $250 when on phones, eMarketer said.

Tablets in particular have significantly changed the way people shop. While in 2011, people spent more money making purchases from smartphones than from tablets, shopping on tablets surpassed phones last year: $13.9 billion was spent from tablets and $9.9 billion from phones.

People are more likely to use tablets while they are in a shopping mood, like lounging on the couch. And their bigger screens make shopping easier than it is on smartphones and in some cases easier than on computers, because shoppers can zoom in or drag items to their carts with their fingers.

For example, at Tea Collection, a children’s clothing retailer, just over a third of transactions now come from mobile devices. People are just as likely to buy from tablets as from computers, and some days more likely, but the conversion rate is lower on smartphones.

Leigh Rawdon, chief executive and co-founder of Tea Collection, said she was surprised at how quickly people have taken to shopping on mobile devices, and that she expects behavior to change yet again with the proliferation of smaller tablets like the iPad Mini that blur the line between phone and tablet.

Still, some retailers report that mobile commerce has not been as big as they expected.

“Many mobile storefronts have problems that make buying difficult,” Mr. Fredricksen said. “Even though sessions often start on smartphones, in the end consumers end up turning to computers or retail stores or even a tablet to seal the deal.”

Big e-commerce players that have poured resources into mobile shopping, like and eBay, are seeing significantly more mobile commerce than smaller shopping sites, Mr. Fredricksen said.

During the holidays, overall e-commerce sales on computers and mobile devices combined grew 14 percent to $42.3 billion, according to comScore. That was lower than expected. After a strong start around Thanksgiving, consumer spending shrank because of concerns about the fiscal crisis in Washington, comScore said.

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Showrooming Escalates and Consumers are Winning the Price War!

January 9, 2013 Leave a comment


Retailers that are mostly focused on brick-and-mortar such as Target and Toys R Us are the ones with the most to lose due to Showrooming, and Target has been one of the most aggressive in battling against the practice.

In January 2012, Target executives released a statement to its vendors announcing:

“What we aren’t willing to do is let online-only retailers use our brick-and-mortar stores as a showroom for their products and undercut our prices without making investments, as we do, to proudly display your brands.”

These words are now being matched with action. Simply put, Target’s response to Showrooming is this: You undercut our prices and try to steal our customers, and we’re not going to sell your products.

Read more:

ImageAnd now here is Target’s latest salvo in the anti-Showrooming price war:


By Angela Moscaritolo  

PC Magazine January 9, 2013 11:36am EST

 “Target has implemented a new year-round price match policy in an effort to curb “Showrooming,” the practice of scoping out merchandise in a store then nabbing a better deal online. After testing the promotion over the holidays, Target this week promised to match prices of top online retailers year-round, including: Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Babies R Us.

Now, when consumers purchase an item at a Target brick-and-mortar store only to find the same thing online for less within seven days, Target will match the lower price. Customers can also request a price match prior to their purchase”.

Most major Brand name apparel companies have already fallen into the trap of using ‘cheap’ foreign labor to make all their finished goods inventories. This has spawned so called ‘Supply Chain Management’, an attempt to match supply with demand months in advance of actual sales with huge fabric and finished goods commitments.

The result is that today less than 50% of apparel is sold at original prices and profits are plummeting! Their response has been to rush headlong into Internet selling but that may boomerang on them with the Showrooming momentum and its promise of price wars.

ImageThat has now put them on the very dangerous Slippery Slope with their own loyal customers, fickle retailers, or their own brick and mortar stores.

No longer does the consumer have to spend hours in the malls going from store to store to check prices and sizes of the items they want when they can showroom with their smart phones as soon as they find the item. And now they can even get lower prices from Target by simply showing the competitor’s’ price proof on their smart phones. Can Macy’s be far behind in matching this brand name apparel price war phenomenon? see this link: New York Times, “Luring Online Shoppers Offline”

One way to combat this lower pricing onslaught is to offer them something they can’t get from other stores and that is customization of fit, color, and prints for popular items as offered by Apparel Made 4 You Inc. see this link:


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AM4U Links Showrooming to Profits

January 6, 2013 Leave a comment

How AM4U can use Showrooming to increase Retailers’ Profits by up to 40%

Background link:

showroomShowrooming is the act of consumers using their mobile phones in-store to compare prices with competing retailers – effectively turning the physical store of a brick and mortar retailer into an extended showroom for anyone else carrying the same or similar product.

Research conducted by GroupM Next© * examining the showrooming trend reveals 45% percent of customers shopping in-store at brick and mortar locations will walk out and complete their purchase online for a discount as low as 2.5%. This number jumps to 60% of shoppers who will leave and purchase a product online for a savings of 5%. This is a HUGE loss of profit as well as a potential loss of ‘loyal’ apparel customers, the largest and fastest growing online sales category.

Last year 25% of shoppers used their mobile phone to compare prices in-store during the holiday season and Deloitte’s latest shopping study projects that in 2012 nearly seven in 10 smartphone owners will use their device for holiday shopping.

What’s more the study shows that smartphone use for store-related shopping increases by 40 percent after the first six months of device ownership—further accelerating the incredible pace of adoption. Also, once consumers start to use the device in a particular apparel store, they tend to consistently use it for more than 50 percent of their trips to all stores within that category—and apparel is the number one category of online sales.images 2

The problem for brands and retailers is that increased adoption of Showrooming will focus the shopper on price only as the product differentiator.  This ultimately forces the brand and the retailer to deeper discounts to compete.  Showrooming may create more sales but in its present form it represents another threat to profits for the retailer and brands.
Following are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,249 adults surveyed online between November 27 and 29, 2012 by Harris Interactive.© **

“Looking specifically at those who typically showroom at the top three brick and mortar stores:

  • 124176_6008% of Best Buy showroomers go on to purchase from Best Buy online, 71% from Amazon.
  • 11% of Walmart showroomers go on to purchase from Walmart online, 64% from Amazon.
  • 12% of Target showroomers go on to purchase from Target online, 72% from Amazon.”

AM4U’s Solution

AM4U will install touchscreen ordering devices in selected retailers’ flagship stores that can link with showroomers’ smartphones and show them how to order and customize specially selected items that the retailer has selected as shoeroom 2being customizable.The retailer pre-selects those key items that can be custom made by AM4U’s Integrated Mini-Factories (IMF) off site and inserts a “Customize This Item” button next to those items on the touch screen. These items can be sold AT THE SAME PRICE as the same item in the store, but they can be dyed, printed and imprinted on a choice of fabrics and finishes and be picked up in the store or delivered to their home in 4-5 days (often without paying for shipping or returns)

MeAlityMoreover, If they have been body-scanned or are willing to have a fully clothed and discreet body scan in one of the 100+ malls’ nearby Me-Ality kiosk, they can even have the garment custom fit to their exact body shape and delivered back to the store for pickup in 4-5 days or to their home AT THE SAME PRICE!.
Finally the customer actually orders and pays for the item online with a credit or debit card and totally without needing a sales clerk or waiting in a checkout queue in the store’s checkout stations.

The fact that AM4U makes no orders until the item is paid for online, there are NO inventory markdowns, excessiveprofit returns, or carrying costs associated with these sales and the Gross margin is therefore at least 40% higher than the normal in-store purchase.

* © Copyright 2012 GroupM Next. All Rights Reserved
**© 2012 Harris Interactive Inc. All rights reserved.

Categories: Uncategorized
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