7. Build the Company Around the Customer

How can companies put the customer at the center without giving up their own identity, organization, and profitability? Freed from owning factories, the orchestrator can create the supply chain and the business around the customer. Companies and their customers are bound together by thick connections, a combination of human relationships, business processes, and technology.

U.S.-based children’s retailer Gymboree has a staff of more than 200 people who source its clothing from some 150 factories in 12 countries. A large headquarters is located in Hong Kong, and sourcing teams are in the Philippines, Indonesia, and China. But most of these sourcing employees do not work for Gymboree: Despite the Gymboree ...

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