Tug-of-War (HBR Case Study)

  • Reference: HBS-R0509X-E

  • Number of pages: 5

  • Geographic Setting: China

  • Publication Date: Sep 5, 2001

  • Source: HBSP (USA)

  • Type of Document: Article

  • Industry Setting: Apparel

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Description

Jack Emmons, the CEO of Voici Brands, knew his apparel company needed a supply chain overhaul. Over the past couple of years, sales had dropped because of late deliveries, stock-outs, and other supply problems. Meanwhile, a major competitor had significantly reduced its time to market and boosted its bottom line by outsourcing all its product lines to a dazzlingly efficient "supply chain city" in Shanghai. Unfortunately, Jack's company was just too decentralized to use the supply chain city. Each of Voici's five units was like a subsidiary, with its own legacy, management, and suppliers. The unit heads wouldn't sit still for a supply chain consolidation; they had worked too hard to forge vendor relationships. Inspired by a magazine article, Jack decided to appoint a supply chain czar to oversee changes in logistics and procurement. He could hire Ravi Chandry, an aggressive outsider who had centralized supply chain operations for the world's second-largest snack food and beverage company. Or he could promote Tony Rini, a highly capable, trustworthy Voici veteran who had no experience consolidating supply operations but could win hearts and minds. Ravi told Jack that only a Rottweiler could do the job right. Tony lobbied for a more cautious approach: Start with low-hanging fruit, get a few quick wins, then move on to other areas. What kind of leadership will get Voici's units to pull together? Commenting on this fictional case study in R0509A and R0509Z are Shakeel Mozaffar, group vice-president of Global Supply Chain at ICI in London; Robert W. Moffat, Jr., senior vice-president of Integrated Supply Chain at IBM; John D. Blascovich, a vice-president of Chicago-based A.T. Kearney and head of its sourcing practice in North America; and Nick LaHowchic, president and CEO of Limited Logistics Services, an internal service subsidiary of Limited Brands in Columbus, Ohio. For teaching purposes, this is the case-only version of the HBR case study. The commentary-only version is reprint R0509Z. The complete case study and commentary is reprint R0509A.

Keywords

Change management Leadership Logistics Operations management Outsourcing Supply chain management