2. Orchestrate the Network

The flat world creates opportunities for managing the firm in the context of the network. This world also creates the need to build systems that are more flexible and customer-centric, which makes orchestration more important.

What is the power of network orchestration? In 2005, the youth lifestyle brand Ecko Unlimited was sourcing US$150 million garments from a buying office in Hong Kong using a traditional model. In spring 2006, in partnership with Li & Fung, the company moved to a network orchestration model. In one year, it reduced prices, improved on-time shipments, raised quality, and reduced lead times.

The shift allowed Ecko to create a strategic approach to sourcing. The company reduced its core vendors ...

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