A Stitch in Time

A Stitch in Time : Lean Retailing and the Transformation of Manufacturing - Lessons from the Apparel and Textile Industries

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The textile and fashion industries have forever been at the mercy of rapidly changing styles and fickle customers who want the latest designs while they are still fashionable. The result for these businesses, often forced to forecast sales and deal with suppliers based on volatile demand, is a history of stock shortages, or costly markdowns. But, as the authors disclose in A Stitch in Time, technological advances that began in the 1980s introduced a new concept in retailing-lean retailing. Pioneered by entrepreneurs such as Sam Walton and WAL-MART and made possible by new information technologies for tracking sales data, lean retailing has enabled apparel producers to reorganize the manner in which they related to retail customers, undertook distribution, forecasted and planned production, and managed supplier relations. In an industry that typically suffered from great delays from warehouse to rack, sales data was now captured at the retailer's checkout through bar coding and immediately transmitted back to distributors, manufacturers, designers, and even to the textile mills that weave the cloth. Armed with up-to-the-minute data about colors, sizes, and geographic sales, everyone in the chain was able to reduce cost, increase efficiency, and keep the customer in style like never before. And today, the broad changes introduced in the apparal industry by lean retailing are rippling through a growing segment of the American economy. A richly detailed and resonant account, A Stitch in Time brilliantly captures both the history and the future of the fashion industry as it offers executives a new paradigm for understanding the challenges of retailing and manufacturing in all segments of our rapidly transforming economy.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • figures, tables
  • 0195126157
  • 9780195126150

About Frederick H. Abernathy

Frederick H. Abernathy is Lawrence Professsor of Engineering at Harvard University; John T.Dunlop is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Harvard University; Janice H. Hammond is Assistant Profesor at the Harvard Business School; David Weil is Assistant Professor of Economics at Boston University.show more

Review quote

Advance praise for A Stitch in Time "A Stitch in Time is excellent reading for those in the Apparel Industry, whether they are in the retail, garment manufacturing or textile segments, who are interested in improving profitability through lower inventories, shorter lead times, less close-outs, and in general making better decisions on fashion merchandise." --Bernard A. Levanthal, Chairman and CEO, Textile/Clothing Technology Corporation, previous Vice Chairman, Burlington Industries, Inc."Highlights the Retail Revolution in Apparel Textile industries and demonstrates how informative technology not only benefits the retailer, but also the apparel and textile manufacturers. It provides all the parties with a response in meeting the short time frame in partnership, from ordering a product to its delivery for sale, and how to handle the completed product in their facility....The book is most informative with regard to how the apparel and textile industries operated one hundred percent of the time before, and what needs to be accomplished and what is being done now with the retail revolution for certain products by retailers, apparel and textile manufacturers which assists all of the parties an enhanced doemstic manufacturing and employment. It also serves as a basis for other industries to deal with the retail revolution." --Jack Sheinkman, Vice Chair, Vice Chair, Amalgamated Bank of New York and President Emeritus, Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (UNITE!)"As this book chronicles, since its beginnings in 1790, the US textile and apparel industry has been a bellwether for a whole host of issues, ranging from early adoption of automation in textiles to experiments in labor relations. And now there are lessons to be learned as this industry strives to exploit information technology to integrate a network of raw material suppliers, manufacturers and retailers working together to flow the right product to the right place at the right time. This excellent book carefully describes these changes and the impact they are having in a way that vividly exposes those lessons for all of us. This is an important book that should be read by anyone in any industry that wants to create an information-integrated channel."--Marshall Fisher, Steven J. Heyman Professor of Service and Operations Management, Wharton Business School, niversity of Pennsylvania"A Stitch in Time has broader significance than its title suggests. By focusing on the flow of materials and processes involved in the retail-apparel-textiles channel, ' it documents and analyzes the transformation of the institutions and practices of production and mass ditribution of the Industrial Age made possible by the railroad and telegraph over a century ago into those of today's Information Age made possible since the 1960s by the new electronic technologies. This pioneering study is one of the very first to enhance our understanding of the multi-faceted implications of the evolution of industry worldwide from the Industrial Age to the Information Age."--Alfred Chandler, Isidor Straus Professor of Business History, Emeritus, Harvard Business Schoolshow more

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