1.What were LEGO’s main expectations and learnings from the relationship with the Flextronics?
Expectations: a. Saving cost by outsourcing to low-cost countries: Prior to outsourcing, LEGO owned and operated production plants mainly in relatively high labor-cost countries, such as the United States, Switzerland and the South Korea. The main reason for this is that LEGO built plants close to its main markets to save transportation cost. But LEGO finally realized that the reduced labor cost in some labor-intensive countries outweighed the reduced transportation cost. Then they decided to outsource to Flextronics who has production capacity in low-cost regions; b. Subcontracting to Flextronics allowed LEGO to reach the economy of scale as well as reduce production complexity by combining its production with that of other Flextronics’ clients; c. Contracting production to Flextronics can help LEGO eliminate the risk of production price fluctuations. Learnings: a. LEGO learned from Flextronics the importance of documentation and standardization of the production, which give LEGO Group transparency and often help LEGO manage the challenges of complexity and to identify the stronger and weaker parts and links of the production network. b. LEGO should consider more factors before they outsourcing. Things like Flextronics’ operation style, the cost and time of providing engineering support and training, and variable lead time incurred by global sourcing are really critical for making decisions. 2.What are the key challenges in maintaining a relationship like the one between LEGO and Flextronics. The key challenge in maintaining a relationship between buyer and supplier is how to reach an agreement that benefits both parties. Take LEGO and Flextronics for example, it’s a big problem for LEGO to solve the conflict between its need for flexible and Flextronics’ more stable and predictable operations. LEGO had wide range of products, including many licensed products like...
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