During this case study of Guy Birkin, I will briefly describe the company's back ground so the audience has a feel for what the company does and why. I will attempt to explain the main factors which led Guy Birkin to develop new technology for its industry. The connection with Karl Mayer will be discussed as well as how the technology has the capability for adoption. The last two items I will discuss are the introduction of the new technology by Guy Birkin and impact to the company and industry due to the new technology.
Guy Birkin is a apparel lace company that is currently part of the Sherwood group. The company roots stretch back as far as 1827 and is now leading the way towards new lace technology called Textronic. Guy Birkin was formed from Birkin and Co. and J. Guy and company with each having a particular strong point which complimented the other. The lace industry is very specialized and some of Guy Birkin's main competitors are Courtalds in the Ukraine as well at Nottingham.
One technology still used to make lace is Leavers. It was developed mostly by the Birkin family back around 1813 and is still in use to day. Not too much about Leavers has changed since 1880 and some of the machines in use are over 100 years old. The machine actually mimics the lace-maker's hand motion. This makes the lace almost indistinguishable from a handmade lace. Still, the technology is old. The disadvantage of these machines is that they are labor intensive which makes up 65 percent of the cost.
External influences played the biggest role in driving technological change for Guy Birkin. Industry changes, such as the 1982 advent of the Jacquardtronic machine, helped reshape the lace industry. This machine allowed for the wide scalloped lace to become affordable. Internal influences also drove changes. Guy Birkin built up a massive 12 Jacquardtronic machines and had to run each 24 hours a day to get a return on the hefty capital investment. This in...
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