The label on the sweater says, “Made in Hong Kong” but the yarn is from Korea; it is woven and dyed in Taiwan; then, cut, sewn and assembled in Thailand and the zippers and buttons are from a Japanese factory located near Jilin, China. Then, it is finished packed and inspected in Hong Kong to be sold in a store in Hull. The steps are generic and the locations can vary – especially as a race to the bottom for lowest cost producers generates footloose players with no sense of how this can  disrupt communities and even wreck their own corporate long term profitability.

Look at this another way. This is a classic end-to-end supply chain featuring consumers in a listed up-market chain on the High Street at one end of the spectrum and a sewing machine paid for by money borrowed from loan sharks at the other. Transformational logistics seeks to explore the relationships in this  story and explore ways in which the value chain can generate inclusive and sustainable growth. (more…)