Love the very obvious links to TOM here — how cool that they managed to implement their own version of TPS (and I see some good FIN / FRC themes in here too with their ability to minimize days inventory)! It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the company if the import tariff on athletic shoes is lifted. Obviously it would hurt NB’s ability to maintain 25% of production in the US from a cost perspective, but I wonder if in the long run it would actually present a bigger marketing (than operations) challenge: NB would be trying to figure out how / if to maintain their “Made in the USA” slogan, but could be forced to move more or all of their production overseas. Do you have a sense of how likely this tariff is to be lifted, and therefore pose a threat to NB’s current business / operating models?
To echo Ashley — you’ve certainly pinpointed a major pain point here for East Coasters! Every Thursday night I used to take the Acela Express back to Boston from Newark, NJ, a trip that in the best of times took 4.5 hours but which regularly took 6-7, especially in the winter. Though flying was an option, I was always drawn to the ostensibly more efficient train system (walk on, no security or baggage limit, no lost time waiting in ticketing lines, etc) — and was invariably disappointed. Like Annie, I’m excited to see what the Hyperloop has to offer, but have little faith that we’ll see a functional AND profitable system like that in the US in our lifetimes.
As a sidenote, I’ve taken high speed trains (like this one http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/high-speed/shanghai-hangzhou.htm) a bunch and they are amazing! Pretty cool to see what technology and infrastructure can do in other places, though there are clearly some big issues with the way the Chinese gov’t went about building these.
I’m interested in your thoughts on Everlane’s “Now” service. While I think this sounds appealing because it is new and convenient, and Everlane seems to be one of the first clothing retailers to do this, I also have to wonder how often I’m just dying for a new basic black long sleeve shirt that would necessitate one-hour delivery 🙂 And further, in NYC and SF where this service is offered, you are rarely more than a few blocks away from a diverse array of retail options. Do you think this is something that they’ll sustain going forward, or is this just a fashion flash in the pan?