World Tailors: Stitching Together a Plan for Growth
(5 pages of text)
The director of World Tailors, a small Canadian manufacturer that employed immigrant and refugee women to sew high-quality aprons, napkins, and market bags, wondered how all of the needed products would be completed for the 2017 December holiday season. During the past seven years, demand for World Tailor products had steadily increased from craft markets, online orders, and retail stores. How could the capacity of its current operations be better managed and expanded? World Tailors was more than a local manufacturer: it supported courageous women, who had recently arrived in Canada as refugees and immigrants, to integrate into the community. Would reorganizing as a business co-operative better balance the unique social mission of the organization?
This case can be used at the undergraduate or graduate level in an operations management module on process analysis. Alternatively, the case can be used in a multidisciplinary course focused on sustainability, shared value, or not-for-profit organizations to explore how an organization can address multiple social objectives. This case encourages students to address issues related to developing a business that must balance both economic and social objectives. After completing this case, students will be able to
- undertake a detailed analysis of a simple process, including developing a process flowchart, calculating capacities at individual steps, identifying the process bottleneck, exploring the implications of product mix variety, and assessing the value of workforce flexibility;
- assess how shared value is created by production team members, volunteers, and retail partners;
- explore the strengths and weaknesses of an evolving business model and organizational structure; and assess how each strength and weakness links to an organization’s operations strategy.
Canada, Small, 2017
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