L.L. Bean

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Strategic Supply Chain Management
Case Study: L. L. Bean, Inc.

1. Based on the information contained in the short case description, and on your own observations, what do you feel characterizes L. L. Bean’s competitive strategy? What are the most essential “customer needs” that must be met by L.L. Bean L.L. Bean, Inc. is a mail-order, online and retail company based in the Unites States. The competitive strategy of L.L. Bean comes from its focus towards the customers and the satisfaction of them. This satisfaction comes in many different ways. At first there are the different ways of ordering possibilities which makes sure every customer can choose the option he/she likes best. Second there is the “100% satisfaction” which makes sure that customers can return their product if there is no full satisfaction and the products will be replaced or refund. Third there is the customer satisfaction department that is available for 24/7 in multiple languages free of charge. All this goes hand in hand with “L.L. Bean’s Golden Rule”.

2. Where on the “implied demand uncertainty spectrum” is the demand positioned that L.L. Bean faces? L.L. Bean offers a broad amount of products with a product life cycle for each of them. Although many products are functional, L.L. Bean offers also products which are more innovative products (e.g. fashion). Side mark is that the functional products are also renewed over time (e.g. improved versions) which turns them more to the right on the implied demand uncertainty spectrum. Another thing is that although L.L. Bean sells clothes, most of them are not in the high fashion. Overall this gives the idea that L.L. Bean is stationed in the middle of the spectrum with some of their products more to the left and some more to the right.

3. Where on the “supply chain responsiveness spectrum” should L.L. Bean’s supply chain(s) be positioned? To have the advantage of a strategic fit, given the position of the implied demand uncertainty...
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