I enjoyed reading how Allen Edmonds competes against outsourcing of production within an extremely competitive part of the retail space. Often in TOM we’ve focused on improving production processes themselves but AE gives a great example of how it can be equally important how a company is able to market the superiority of their manufacturing process to create value for their products. In response to Cristiana’s point about the company moving from their core business, I wonder about their longer-term operational model being well positioned to capture value beyond a hipster trend of dress shoes referenced by “old favorites with a twist”. I think that their movement overseas and into clothes is an astute effort to maintain longer-term growth post-hipster fad.
Great explanation of how Wawa has managed to take a sector where customers typically lack brand-loyalty and gain an active support base. They certainly have differentiated themselves from competitors on product quality, but I wonder what the financial implications are of these higher than typical investments on labor and technology. Specifically, I would be really interested to see what effect the technological investments such as touch-screen ordering have had on Wawa’s basic productivity indicators such as cycle time for orders and capacity.
Really interesting concept and I’m a bit surprised at their number of subscribers at such an early point (20,000). I would be interested to see their costs and profitability based on what sort of discounts they have given out to obtain this initial base.