1. The Orchestration Imperative

In the 1970s, The Limited began working with Li & Fung to source its clothing. To tighten the cycle time of its supply chains, chairman and CEO Les Wexner set a time limit of 30 days for any order to be produced. This was absolute, whether the order was for 5,000 or 200,000 pieces; it had to be done in 30 days. This was one of the ways Wexner pioneered the concept of quick-response manufacturing. To meet the tight deadline, it became a normal practice for Li & Fung to sample many factories and to have these factories ready before The Limited decided on the size of the order. In this way, Li & Fung could reserve enough production capacity to respond quickly. If the order turned out to be a big one, Li & Fung would ...

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