Watch: A Video Showing How Quick Response Reinvented Replenishment


Please carve out 10 minutes to learn an important history insight – about what Quick Response replenishment was when it kicked off in the early 90’s. 

Below is a link to a 1991 video that I made for IBM profiling a US apparel factory making little girl’s dresses, the Warren Featherbone Company, in Gainesville, GA and its customer, Mercantile Department Stores.

I had been promoted by IBM in 1990 to the position of Apparel Industry Segment Manager. My job was to find application software for apparel manufacturing that ran on the IBM AS/400. One of the first industry events I ever attended was a national Quick Response conference. It was packed.

One of the speakers was the late Gus Whalen, who ran Warren Featherbone. You’ll meet Gus on the video. After his charismatic speech, I approached him to ask him a question and froze because I could not think of a question. I had no idea what QR was so I took a suitcase home full of vendor material and started reading (this was pre-internet).

As fate would have it, three months later Gus ended up in front of me in line at the Chicago Crown Room. I asked if I could visit his factory since I too lived in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Well, we fell in business love.

With his permission, I took a camera crew to shoot the video you’re about to see. We shot 5 hours on a Thursday. I got 5 cans of raw footage on Friday. By Sunday I had 39 sound bites, voice over and the below video 1 second over the target time of 10 minutes. You’ll decide if its a good story.

Gus and I formed a very close friendship. We flew in Roger Milliken’s jet to show him and his 19 VP’s this video. We flew to Stu Leonard’s unique grocery in CT and went to ‘Stu U’. We flew to IBM and met with our VP of International Trade. We met with the President of Delta Airlines and Gus, being a pilot, was invited to simulate the landing of an L1011.

We got into the massive cockpit of the L1011 Simulator. The set up for us was that we were flying and were to land in Hawaii. I was co-pilot. Gus had the stick. He took us down and, as we descended, enough alarms were going off to wake up New York. We hit the runway, veered slightly right then proceeded across the grass, thru the fence, over the highway, directly into the beach and out into the Pacific Ocean. Man, that was a different kind of surfing there.

Gus wrote several books about his philosophy. He created a Manufacturer’s Award and gave the first one to the CEO of Boeing who flew to Georgia to receive it. He created Georgians for Manufacturing. He invited me to a reunion of it then died suddenly before we could meet.

You’ll learn something from this video. It may make you wonder why we ever went offshore for sewing. Here was a factory that was able to keep inventory at ‘model stock’ levels in each Mercantile store which went directly after fewer out of stocks and fewer markdowns.

So, that’s my story, here’s Gus’


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