Inaccurate forecasts of retailer demand has become a major issue at Obermeyer. The two major factors that made this task more difficult was the increase in product variety and intense competition in market. Second challenge the company had faced was to allocate production between Hong Kong and China. Although Obermeyer had 1/3 of Parka production in China for 1992, this year the organization insisted on increasing the sales to half. There was difference in quality and labor rate at China and Hong Kong which made allocation decision more difficult.
Another challenge the company faced was the larger lead time. The company had supplies of raw materials from various countries which resulted in delayed production time. Organization challenges along with competition from competitor companies were major challenges the company had faced.
From the sales predictions that the six managers forecasted, a coefficient of variation (COV) was determined, which indicated the level of spread of the forecasted data. The COV values were broadly divided into two levels, the low risk group and the high risk group. Every value below 0.2 were considered to be among the lower risk items and all the items above COV value of 0.2 were considered to be of higher risks. Once the risk levels of each item were determined, the quantities of items to be produced in first and second production cycles could be calculated with least risk. 70% of the entire sales forecast for the lower risk items were ordered to be produced. Only 30% of higher risk items were ordered to be produced in the first production cycle. The quantities which amounted to 1200 were manufactured in China and that which were close to 600, were manufactured in Hong Kong in the first production cycle.
Once the 80% of the orders were received from the retailers from the Vegas show, a clear picture of the demand forecast could be obtained, according to which the rest of the items could be manufactured either in China or Hong Kong. Referring to exhibit 1, the four products to be produced in China in the first production cycle are: Assault, Seduced, Entice and Electra. These four products have COV less than 0.2. However Gail, Daphne, ISIS, Anita, Teri, Stephanie are produced in Hong Kong for the first production cycle as they have a high level of risk associated with it.
Short term operational changes
o Decrease lead time by obtaining raw materials from geographically closer locations to ensure timely delivery
Long term operational changes
o Cross scaling Chinese labors which would help the company produce quality and reliable goods at a cheaper price