Get instant access to this case solution for only $15

VF Brands Global Supply Chain Strategy Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2443 1481 Words (6 Pages) Gary P. Pisano, Pamela Adams Harvard Business School : 610022
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

VF Corporation was founded in 1899 and is one of the leading apparel companies of the US with revenue of more than $7.6 million in 2008. It is currently facing a dilemma in reaching a strategic solution to improve its supply chain as the economic crisis is pushing the corporations across the globe to minimize their costs. Initially, VF used vertically integrated manufacturing whereby from procurement to final production was done in the factories of VF which were in Mexico. This strategy worked until the company was serving the market of the US only and had limited brands. However, as the company expanded into newer markets (market development) and diversified into newer brands, its existing manufacturing units were not enough for production nor was this option feasible logistically. Thus, VF started outsourcing which is even though cheaper and flexible, but it results in long lead time and wastage. Therefore, VF is now considering opting for a “third way” sourcing strategy.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. How has the supply chain strategy of VF Brands evolved over the two decades? How well aligned was the supply chain and business strategy prior to 2008?

  2. What is your evaluation of the Third Way sourcing strategy proposed in the case? Is it the “best of both worlds” or the “worst of both worlds”?

  3. The supply chain options VF Brands seems to have on the table are continue the accelerated shift from integrated manufacturing to full outsourcing under the industry practices specified above, refrain from further shifting from IM to outsourcing, and either keep the situation “as is” or even rebuild internal manufacturing capability, or engage the “Third Way” as suggested in the case. Please decide which is the best course of action for VF.

Case Analysis for VF Brands Global Supply Chain Strategy

1. How has the supply chain strategy of VF Brands evolved over the two decades? How well aligned was the supply chain and business strategy prior to 2008? 

VF uses a combination of internal manufacturing and outsourcing. Prior to the 1990s, VF was an apparel manufacturing organization with around 100 factories. The production was completely internal. However, things changed when it started acquiring other apparel and lifestyle brands that did not have their own manufacturing units. VF’s own manufacturing unit was not sufficient to support the manufacturing activities of all these newly acquired brands as VF’s factories were heavily focused towards denim and jeans production whereas the acquired lifestyle and other brands were not denim-centered. Besides, the VF factories were in Mexico as it is nearer to US and products can easily and quickly be shipped to the US; however, expansion strategy to international markets meant that it was imperative for VF to outsource production to Asian suppliers as those were closer to the international markets so products could be easily and quickly shipped. VF produced most of its jeans and denim products in its own factories while it completely outsourced its lifestyle brands productions.

VF’s internal manufacturing capabilities and technical engineering skills served as its competitive advantage as the lead time taken to produce in VF’s own factory was significantly shorter than the industry average (around 10 days vs. industry average of 30-50 days). The materials were procured and each step from cutting to sewing and packing for sending products to the US would be done at VF’s factories in Mexico.

For outsourcing, Finding a reliable and high-quality supplier network was a tedious, time consuming, and expensive task as prospective suppliers’ manufacturing units needed to be visited for accurate decision making. VF had 1600 contractors and 30 distribution centers of which the top 20 suppliers accounted for 45% of outsourced volume procurement annually. Outsourcing increased dramatically following 2000 as acquisitions increased. Lifestyle products had short product lifecycles thus needed to be restocked constantly while other products had various SKUs.

Contracts had to be drawn in advance. For products needed in September, contracts had to be signed in January (9 months in advance). Following this is the procuremnet stage. This would typically take between 4-12 weeks (1-3 months). Vf can make any changes in the design if it wants to during this time period. After procurement, the suppliers would initiate the production stage. This would again take around 3 to 4 months. The products are then shipped to regional distribution centers where they are sorted and packed to be shipped to retail outlets. Transportation via ship to the US would take another 2 weeks of lead time due to shipping and clearance on ports. Thus, the total cycle would take around 7 months of lead time.

Get instant access to this case solution for only $15

Get Instant Access to This Case Solution for Only $15

Standard Price


Save $10 on your purchase


Amount to Pay


Different Requirements? Order a Custom Solution

Calculate the Price

Approximately ~ 1 page(s)

Total Price


Get More Out of This

Our essay writing services are the best in the world. If you are in search of a professional essay writer, place your order on our website.

Essay Writing Service
whatsapp chat icon

Hi there !

We are here to help. Chat with us on WhatsApp for any queries.

close icon