How Globalisation destroyed the Boxers



Boxers have been a liberating staple of  mens dress code for a very long time. This has been well cemented for the middle classes by M&S over the last few decades. Boxers have a only a couple of  design criteria, viz., the cloth cannot be too thin, but not so thick that you feel you are wearing two trousers; they must be stitched from a single cut of cloth ensuring there is no seam at the back. These are not onerous requirements, and prior to the last decade or so M&S has produced a product that adhered to the design.

Over the last ten to fifteen years something has gone seriously wrong with boxers. The cloth has thickened, and worse still, there is a seam at the back. Why? The deterioration in the boxer can be laid at the doorstep of the reckless drive for globalisation. When you sell your product to new customers without disrupting any of your supply chain, of course, no problem. But, developing nations (particularly in the current environment) have no wish to be just consumers, they want to be part of the production process. Hence the legal restrictions in developing countries (like India), for a fixed percentage of production to be locally sourced,

All this would be fine, but for the brands ignoring to import their quality standards and checks developed over many decades. The local mills can produce the cloth, but the type and quality has to insisted upon by the brand. What should sit comfortably on the waist begins to bite because the elastic band stitched into the cloth is wrong. Instead of sitting comfortably on the waist, it begins to feel as though its desperately gripping it. Inconsistencies in the cloth means that at times some are just too uncomfortable to wear.

Globalisation will only work if the brands produce a consistent product with universal quality standards. If their eyes are focused on increased margins and the accompanying share price uptick, then the product will suffer, with negative long term consequences for the brand. It is not enough to show that you are sourcing locally, but consumers have to feel that the quality of the product has not been lost in the process.




About KM Mukku

Kick-start, build and manage teams in product development (particularly in the financial domain), and enjoy all in adaptive case management, business process design and business process improvement. Currently holding the position of CTO at coMakeIT.
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