It’s time to clear out a bunch of articles of that I have had kicking around. First up, we note that it has been Fashion Week in New York and that has led a couple of interesting articles:
- The New Yorker has a profile of Federico Marchetti and his company Yoox (The Geek of Chic, Sep 10). Yoox does a couple of things. It started by selling end of season luxury fashions. It won friends in the industry by just posting their own price with noting how much it was discounted off the list price. Luxury brands liked that this allowed them to unload unsold items without tying their brand to a 50% off sign. The interesting part is that Yoox was able to provide the brands with information they never had before (like what colors were selling where). Yoox has since expanded and now provides the backend and fulfillment for multiple designers’ web stores.
- At a different end of the market, Wired had an interview with Yasunobu Kyogoku, the COO of Uniqlo USA, which is ramping up a big US expansion (Upending Fashion, Steve Jobs-Style: 10 Questions With Uniqlo’s Yasunobu Kyogoku, Aug 31). Uniqlo has a very different approach from, say, Zara.
Wired: Is it true Uniqlo orders from its suppliers a full year in advance? What’s the thinking behind that?
Kyogoku: Let’s say you happen to own your own factory, and someone says, ‘In September, I’d like to order 40% of your capacity; in October, 70%; in the rest of the year, zero.’ You’d say, ‘But there’s a gentleman who just came to me and said, ‘I will book 80% of your capacity for a year and in fact, let’s do a long term partnership. Why don’t we add an extra line?’ The more you produce, the more you help me reduce the cost. We pass that to the customer. The customer buys more. We have a positive cycle where everyone wins.
Wired: With a 12-month cycle, aren’t you worried customers will go to faster-moving competitors with trendier clothes?
Kyogoku: We don’t chase trends. People mistakenly say that Uniqlo is a fast-fashion brand. We’re not. We are about clothing that’s made for everyone.
- Adam Davidson continues to write great stuff. He has a New York Times Magazine article about making bespoke and made-to-measure suits (What’s a $4,000 Suit Worth?, Sep 9). As the article notes, you would think that loads of people in Manhattan willing to pony up for the perfect suit. And there are but does not mean that it’s an easy way to make money. The economics of bespoke suits aren’t like those of Uniqlo:
As Rowland explained to me, even with a century-old reputation and a profoundly loyal customer base, it’s nearly impossible to get ahead. “There’s no scalability,” she explained. “Whether we’re making 50 suits or 1 — each unit costs the same.”
The next topic is health care.
- Some time ago, we had a post on reducing infections from central line catheters by following the process developed by Dr. Peter Pronovost at Johns Hopkins. The Wall Street Journal reports that a new report shows the power of adhering to the process (Program Cuts Rate of Deadly Catheter Infections, Sep 11). Here’s a graphic of the results.
- In another post, we discussed efforts to reduce the time from when a heart attack patient reached the hospital and when the patient received an angioplasty, a procedure that clears arteries using a catheter and a balloon. The goal has been to reduce the door-to-balloon time to 90 minutes. The Journal has an article discussing how different hospitals have taken on this challenge (Minute by Minute, the Race to Open a Blocked Artery, Sep 11). And the article has eye candy!
One of the interesting things mentioned in the article is that there is a speed-accuracy trade off. Angioplasties are not for everyone — even not for every heart attack victim. The rush to get patients to the procedure as quickly as possible means risking getting ramped up to perform the procedure but stopping when it turns out to be unnecessary.
False alarms are a concern. It’s possible a patient rushed to the lab would turn out to have something other than a serious heart attack. At the University of Michigan Health System, a program to improve door-to-balloon performance cut the median time from 67 minutes in 2007 to 55 minutes in 2011. The false-alarm rate increased to 40% of all cases from 15%, according to a study by cardiologist Geoffrey Barnes. Such false alarms can be a drain on staff and a poor use of resources, he says.
The process was modified at the beginning of this year, Dr. Barnes says. Now, if an emergency-room doctor doesn’t have “high suspicion” of a heart attack but still wants another opinion, an on-call cardiologist reviews the case promptly—”without having to activate the entire cardiac catheterization laboratory each time,” he says.
Sahil Parikh, an interventional cardiologist who performs angioplasty at UH Case and is on its 24/7 on-call team, says for every 20 cases he sees one false alarm, including those patients with less-serious heart attacks and those with coronary issues that don’t require an angioplasty. “We always err on the side of caution because we don’t want to risk a heart attack, and most of the time we get it right,” Dr. Parikh says.