Monday, November 19, 2012

Out Of Town

The FLGs are heading out of town for the Thanksgiving Holiday, so posting, intermittent as it is, will definitely not occur of the next week.  A few things though...

First, Dance recently sent FLG a link to this article about how Indochino fits people for their suits.  The online custom suit business is really booming.  Besides Indochino, there's Alton Lane, Black Lapel, myTailor, Modern Tailor, and a bunch of others.  After a ton of research, FLG became a customer of Proper Suit, which he highly recommends.  While he's at it, he also recommends DeoVeritas for custom shirts in no small part because they offer the option to have sewn, rather than fused interlinings.

But men's fashion aside, Dance's email got FLG thinking about something that has long a topic of debate in the business world -- the shift from mass production to mass customization.  Basically, the idea that the computerization of the production line makes it possible for each unit produced to be different than the previous unit, but at a marginal cost similar to producing the exact same item each time.  Computer companies, especially Dell, were probably the first real success story, but over the last few years, a bunch of products have begun to offer mass customization options, for example, Converse, Nike, and even M & Ms.

The thing that is interesting to FLG about these online suit companies is that it's not so much the back-end production that is computerized (sure, they store pattens in the cloud and send them via the Internet for production in China), which really could have been done via telegraph by simply sending a message to a tailor in Shanghai.    It's that 1) the Internet allows for customers to input their own customizations without involvement from any company employees and 2) the existence of global logistics networks that facilitate cheap, efficient, and timely international delivery. 

For the longest time, FLG thought the key to mass customization was the ability of the production line to shift for each production unit, but that's not the real problem.  Robots can easily be designed to take a new set of instructions for each person's order.  And sure there's the additional inventory issues associated with maintaining a large selection of materials at any one time.  But the real issue that prevented mass customization sooner, and in FLG's mind slows its adoption more generally, is the ability for individuals to easily and quickly make transmit their preferences.  Modern internet websites help greatly with this.

All in all, not a huge insight, but it was one for FLG.

Second, inspired by Flavia, FLG has begun alumni interviewing this year.  He's only done one interview so far.  The DC area is littered with Georgetown alumni, so he guesses they've pretty much got the region covered block by block.  His interview was with an applicant from about half a mile away. 

Lastly, Miss FLG Maior and even Miss FLG Minor are growing up way too fast:

Here's hoping you all have a happy Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

dance said...

Happy Thanksgiving! And wow, yes, your daughters are getting big!

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