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A Stitch in Time: Lean Retailing and the Transformation of Manufacturing--Lessons from the Apparel and Textile Industries 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195126150
ISBN-10: 0195126157
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Editorial Reviews


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 School

About the Author

Frederick H. Abernathy joined John T. Dunlop in a 1979 study of the Tailored Clothing Industry which led to the establishment of the Textile and Clothing Technology Corporation ([TC]2). His continued involvement with the apparel industry led the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support the research resulting in this book. He is Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Engineering, and Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University. John T. Dunlop has had an extensive career in labor relations and government including serving as U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1975-1976 and more recently chair of President Clinton's Commission on Worker-Management Relations. He has also served as a mediator and arbitrator in a wide range of industries and is the author of more than ten books on labor relations and labor economics. He is Lamont University Professor, Emeritus at Harvard University. Janice H. Hammond investigates how manufacturing and logistics systems develop the speed and flexibility to respond quickly and efficiently to changing customer demand--critical capabilities in the retail-apparel-textile channel. She is the UPS Foundation Professor of Business Logistics at the Harvard Business School. David Weil has written widely on the impact of technology and human resource policy on business performance based in part on his studies of the retail-apparel-textile industries. His research spans the areas of labor market policy, industrial and labor relations, occupational safety and health, and regulatory policy. He is Associate Professor of Economics at Boston University School of Management.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (July 29, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195126157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195126150
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A Stitch In Time is a very good read.
While some academics tend to write books that are beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, this book is very readable, even to a layman like me who has no previous experience in the fashion/apparel/textiles business. The authors have explained techniques in manufacturing and theoretical concepts very clearly. Although it is obvious that much research has been done, the authors did not bore the reader with useless facts and figures just to prove the amount of research that has been done. Rather, significant findings were highlighted whenever appropriate, which made the book more interesting and comprehensible.
The authors believe that a new form of retailing, defined as lean retailing by the authors, will soon make its impact in the retail industry. Major retailers, like Wal-Mart, already practise this form of retailing. The theory of lean retailing propose that as there is an increase in product proliferation, and as customers demand quicker response times, retailers will "force" suppliers to replenish supplies at shorter intervals with smaller quantities. This will reduce inventory, cost and risk. While suppliers may choose to hold more inventories to satisfy lean retailers like Wal-Mart, it is a short-term solution. It is merely pushing the ineffectiveness of the system from retailers to apparel manufacturers. A better way is to re-look the industry from a channel angle, i.e. the whole chain of retailer-supplier-textile manufacturer. How can the channel be more effective as a whole? The authors believe information integration and co-operation is the key.
While the focus of the book has been on the fashion/apparel/textiles industry, I believe the concepts can also be applied to other industries.
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Format: Hardcover
The book goes beyond the hyped-up jargon of e-commerce and information technology and instead provides a nuts and bolts understanding of the actual impact of these trends on businesses, workers and the American economy. While it focuses on just one industry (one with which we can all identify, as consumers of clothing and customers of the Walmarts, J. Crews and Dillard's of the world), it gives a much broader understanding of the trends and forces that will eventually shape most industres, and affect who wins and loses in this emerging "IT" economy.
The book is eminently readable, packed with real world examples and crisp analysis of trends that we hear about frequently in the popular press, but rarely see investigated in any real detail.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an extremely lively and readable account of changes in the U.S. apparel industry. It challenges the prevailing assumption that the industry is doomed to move offshore in its entirety. The authors argue persuasively that there will be a continuing need for apparel production in the U.S. by firms that cooperate more closely with retailers, and meet the demand for timely production. In addition, the authors present a fascinating history of the industry and a wonderfully detailed discussion of its changing technology. This book is useful to those interested specifically in the apparel industry, but also as a case study of how new information technologies are reshaping U.S. industries more generally.
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