Why Great Product Ideas Alone Aren’t Enough
Love the recent post on HBR blogs from Gretchen Gavett on Lululemon’s current woes. She refers to a recent study by Beth Kowitt and Colleen Leahy and articulates what may be obvious after the recent see-through pant fiasco…“Lululemon should probably pay more attention to its supply chain.” More interesting, however, is her next statement, “after all, they (Kowitt and Leahy) point out, strong supply chains ‘are the hallmark of businesses that outlast their founders.’”
I think that is a fascinating point and one that supports the notion of the networked company. Those companies that work collaboratively with their suppliers – and ones that have greater visibility into their supply risk – are the ones that have a competitive advantage. Having great product ideas is not enough. Having the type of relationships that ensure stellar execution on great product ideas is critical. And, having the right level of collaboration with and insights into your supply chain is a key input to that stellar execution.
And, as an aside, I think Lululemon took our past statements about “transparency in the supply chain” a little too literally.