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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 5, April 2

We started our day with a nice drive to Tongxiong city. The scenic drive allowed us to observe the different styles of living throughout the city, suburbs, and rural countryside.

Our first destination was Artwell, a cashmere apparel factory. There we were given a little taste of home - McDonald's! It was extremely generous and accommodating. The full vertical factory began with the raw material (imported from cashmere goats in Mongolia) and ended with packaging the finished garments. Students were impressed with how clean, well lit, and well ventilated the factory was - what great working conditions! Kohl's makes up 12% of Artwell's capacity which equates to 400,000 units per year. This could be expanding since Artwell is doubling the size of its manufacturing capacity within the next month. One great surprise was seeing Burberry sweaters being produced!

After the Artwell factory, we boarded the bus and headed to another factory, Shinsun (Jiaxing Pengchao) Garment Co., LTD. We were greeted by the CEO of Operations, Benjamin, explaining that it was the company's job to make Kohl's look like heroes. Benjamin was part of the family that owned the factory, which we found was very common in China. Family ties are extremely important and Shinsun had relationships with fabric mills that were over 30 years old. We learned about the entire process from fabric and material selection to final quality inspection. The students were able to see first-hand how Kohl's and Li & Fung work with suppliers to produce high quality goods at a great value in a short time period. We are all very excited to see the products from the lines in Kohl's stores within the next few months.

Today was a great way for all of our majors, from Design to Marketing, to see real world applications of what we have learned in the classroom. We saw the importance of quality control and we could see the respect the suppliers had for Kohl's throughout the various aspects of the day. Our factory tours gave us a new perspective and we could not have been able to see this without Kohl's great partnership with Li & Fung and its suppliers. The students were definitely looking forward to the tours today and our expectations were, once again, surpassed from an educational, social, and cultural point of view. Thank you so much Kohl's! It was a day we will not soon forget!

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