Saturday, April 23, 2011

Barbie has her own global supply chain......

"Barbie was conceived as the all-American girl.  In truth, she never was:  at her inception, in 1959, Mattel Corp. arranged to make her at a factory in Japan.  A few years later it added a plant in Taiwan, along with a whole cadre of Taiwanese women who sewed Barbie's clothes in their homes.  By the middle of the 1990's Barbie's citizenship had become even less distinct.  Workers in China produced her statuesque figure, useing molds from the United States and other machines from Japan and Europe.  Her nylon hair was Japanese, the plastic in her body from Taiwan, the pigments American, the cotton clothing from China.  Barbie, simple girl though she is, had developed her very own global supply chain."

"...vertical integration was the norm in manufacturing.........As freight costs plummeted in the late 1970's and as the rapid exchange of cargo.......became routine, manufacturers discovered that they no longer needed to do everything themselves.........Integrated production yielded to disintegrated production......Low transport costs helped make it economically sensible for a factory in China to produce Barbie dolls with Japanese hair, Taiwainese plastic, and American colorants, and ship them off to eager girls all over the world."

as excerpted from The Box

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