Shipping Crisis and Supply Chain Disruptions: Impacts on Apparel Sourcing and Trade (updated Oct 2021)

Interview with Lululemon CEO
Interview with Steve Lamar, President & CEO, American Apparel and Footwear Association
Impact on cotton price and cotton apparel

For FASH455: Please feel free to share any thoughts or propose discussion questions based on the three short videos above.

Author: Sheng Lu

Professor @ University of Delaware

3 thoughts on “Shipping Crisis and Supply Chain Disruptions: Impacts on Apparel Sourcing and Trade (updated Oct 2021)”

  1. The ongoing shipping crisis is really real and really among us. As we head into the holiday season with increased shopping and consumption, the supply chain issues are heightened. The CEO of Lululemon shared that 20% of their back half receipts have been impacted by the shutdown with factories being shut down. There is currently no end in sight to solve the shipping crisis and businesses are just doing the best they can. The port in LA opened up 24-7 but so far has not seen a drastic decrease in back-ups. The CEO of LuLulemon also shared that they have used air to try and get the product in which is much more expensive. There is greater demand than there is the available product. He recommended that guests shop as early as possible to get the products they need. I personally have thankfully completed all of my holiday shopping, but I have friends who have not and are seeing those major delays and unavailable products as discussed in these videos.

  2. Given that we just recently discussed the forced labor in Xinjiang, I found the last video the most interesting. As we have discussed in case study 3, there have been concerns from US companies about the alleged forced labor of the uyghur ethnic group in producing cotton. This has caused many US companies to decrease their imports of cotton from China, specifically in the Xinjiang region. While I was aware that the US government was putting laws in place, I did not know that Trump had banned the import of clothing and other products made with cotton from Xinjiang. Additionally, as we have learned, there have been many shortages in products and disruptions in the supply chain. It’s interesting to see how these disruptions have caused the prices of resources to increase.

  3. The disruption in the supply chain is one topic we have explored abundantly this year, as it is becoming a prevalent issue in our industry. Though there are motions to help minimize the blow of these issues, there is no one solution to this issue. I found it very interesting to see Lulu Lemon’s stance on the supply chain disruption. Their outlook seems to be a “make the most of a bad situation” outlook and instead of panicking under pressure, they have focused on the aspects they can control. Again, instead of panicking, Lulu Lemon continued to pay their employees, remained loyal to their consumers and their investors. Finding alternate routes of sourcing and exploring options during this time is crucial to remain afloat. For big companies, this can be simple as they have the capital and resources but it has been abundantly hard on small businesses. It was very interesting to hear Steve Lamar’s thoughts on how the tariffs were affecting businesses through this time. His idea of putting a hold on the tariffs or reimbursing for some of the tariffs businesses have faced is one I found very interesting. This brings up the same idea of stimulus checks, which Americans received to increase profitability in the economy. If the companies were given some leeway in this time it could bring profitability in the industry.

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