By now I think we all have some understanding of supply chain issues over the last few years from the point of view of consumers and retailers, but I stumbled across this yesterday and was amazed at how many different dimensions of a moment in history it captures, as well as how much I didn’t know I didn’t know with regard to the bicycle industry.
All about a boutique brand nearly imploding in 2021 and everything that went into (and came out of) that.
(I saw the link on instagram because I’m an owner of a set of their forks, but I have no other connection to the company)
My first reaction reading that was they really didn’t understand the bike business, and more importantly, Asian culture. I knew as soon as I read that they used a “fixer” that it was going to end poorly.
Taiwanese / Chinese business culture is a strange dichotomy of ultimately caring about the bottom line, but also requiring deep relationships to successfully manage the process. It took me many years and countless trips there to even scratch the surface…and I am still learning, 25+ years later. This latest phase of my career has been very different as I am no longer a customer, but an employee of the company…so many of those lessons I learned previously don’t apply.
It sounds like the guy from Rodeo did not really nurture his relationship with his factory…it takes a LOT for a factory to jettison a customer like that. I can only imagine how bad the Fixer must have made the situation. rather than using a fixer, he should have been engaging directly with the factory manager and sales associate…lots of nightime calls, frequent e-mails, etc. IIRC, Taiwan had a 2 week quarantine in 2021…he probably should have bitten the bullet and gone over to meet with them at some point. Easier said than done, I know…
I’m glad they got past the crisis and it sounds like some really important lessons were learned and they have a more strategic approach to their supply chain moving forward.
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