Timbuk2 Case Study

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  • Topic: Manufacturing, Messenger bag, Bicycle messenger
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Timbuk2 Case Study
Belinda Walker
MG 390 Operations Management
Professor: Phillip Durham

Timbuk2 Case Study
Rob Honeycutt began Timbuk2 in San Francisco, California in 1989. The bicycle messenger wanted to create a bag that was durable but stylish enough to be marketable. He used an old sewing machine to make a bag different from the traditional back pack. He is asked about these handlebar bags by other people while he is still working as a messenger. With an investment of two hundred dollars, he buys fabric and fasteners. He makes fifty bags and sells them to a local bike shop (Caltani, 2011). His company Scumbags or Timbuk2, as it is currently called, is born. Mr. Honeycutt met recent University of California at Berkeley graduate Brennan Mulligan. The two joined together in 1993 to put into production the designer messenger bags. By 1996, Timbuk2 was up and running manufacturing company. What started out has a small operation making custom bags for individuals had grown into mass production of messenger bags and other accessories for retail sale. Timbuk2 has two major product lines. The customer messenger bag and laptop bags. The individual custom bags are tailored made in San Francisco. The laptop bags which are manufactured in larger quantities are produced in China (Cachon, Cattani, & Netessine, 2007). Timbuk2 competitive dimensions are essentially the same for both product lines. Their key dimensions are the quality of their product, the variety, and fast shipment. Their products have a lifetime guarantee. They stand behind their legendary quality and craftsmanship. If there is a defect in the materials or workmanship of the product individuals will receive store credit for replacement of the product. Another key dimension is their customization. Customers have the ability to create their own bag. Timbuk2 offers the selection of the bag type, colors for the panels, handles on the bag and much more. The number of combination is endless. Individuals can have a one of a kind bag. The shipment of their bags is quick and customers can have their bags between two and four days. They quickly fill orders and ship them overnight. A customer can make their individual order and have their bags within days. On the Timbuk2 web site customers can design their own unique bag. The customer must first select the bag by their function or category. They choose the size of that particular design. Customers are then led to the next screen to make the selection of colors and fabrics for each of the three panels on the bag. Customers then select the color of the binding, logo and the liner of the inside of the bag. They individuals have the choice of what type of reflectors they will have on the bag, tabs or straps. They even take into consideration if the customer is left handed or right handed by making adjustments to the order so the customer is completely satisfied with their bag (Timbuk2, 2012). The San Francisco based location is smaller. Their rate of production and volume is not as much as their Chinese manufacturing plant. The plant in China is automated with big machinery. This is so the mass production of the laptop bags can be produced at lower costs. Whereas in the San Francisco location the skill set of the employees are higher because the customization of bags is done there. The company is known for producing high-quality custom and classic messenger bags direct to customers order. They have a team of more than 20 hardworking employees of cutters and sewers in their San Francisco plant. Through experimentation, Timbuk2 worked hard on becoming efficient at making these custom made bags for individuals. It was through hours of work and making changes over and over they found what works best for them. First, all employees are cross trained on all jobs. Then employees are put into groups of five. Each employee is given a bag to make or an order to fill. Each group would...
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