The Holiday Run Up

It's the Monday before Christmas and Kwanzaa, and we're almost through Chanukah. That means organized chaos on the logistics end of things. LEE AND BARRETT is a consumer-facing business, obviously, but because we do everything in house there is a tremendous back end production and logistics network that isn't always visible.

We also don't stock a lot of inventory because we prefer to adjust with fashion trends and what the customer is asking for. This means we do a lot of just-in-time manufacturing, which is particularly challenging during the holidays when volume increases suddenly and dramatically.

Our analytics team tries to forecast material usage-- how much leather, foxing, soles, etc. to flow in. We also need to adjust the number of people on the production floor to cover the work, and our shipping department needs to work in tandem with our front office to ensure orders go out on time.

This isn't much different than most retail companies during this time of year, but we don't use a third-party manufacturing service. We are both the manufacturer and the brand, which means we have twice as much fun as December comes to a close.

Brandon Cohn