Cutting Louis Vuitton Lead Times
One of the largest luxury French fashion brands, Louis Vuitton, is planning to expand its leather goods and handbag production with new workshops being built over the next 2 years.
Originally known for its travel bags, the luxury brand will hire 500 people for 2 sites in western France, bringing its staff of leather goods specialists to nearly 4,000 as it looks to meet growing demand with possibly a 3rd over the next few years according to industrial director Emmanuel Mathieu. Currently, Vuitton has several plants internationally including 2 in California and 1 in development in Texas. They have 4 workshops in the Spanish region of Catalonia and production facilities in Portugal and Romania that produce smaller components for the bags including luggage handles.
Vuitton makes the majority of these items in its home market to keep pace with rival brand, Hermes, also due to open several new workshops by 2020. The goal for Vuitton is to have 16 French leather workshops by early 2019 to follow up with its last opening in 2017 to keep up with the burst of renewed job creation recently in the manufacturing sector , after almost nearly 20 years of rapid de-industrialisation.
Louis Vuitton, which owns all of its own stores, is also looking to cut lead times to help it react to sales trends with the aim to deliver handbags within a week of internal orders as opposed to the current lead time of 2 weeks. Designs including Vuitton's Twist bags or the mini Palm Springs backpacks are assembled by hand at the site by some 250 workers trained on specialist stitching machines.
While LVMH (the parent company of Louis Vuitton) will not disclose earnings for its brands, analysts estimate Vuitton's sales reached at minimum 8 billion euros over the last year.
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