Background Note | HBS Case Collection | February 1990 (Revised April 1991)

Quick Response in the Apparel Industry

by Janice H. Hammond


It has been estimated that the U.S. apparel industry wastes over $25 billion annually due to inefficient practices, long lead times, and insufficient coordination between channel partners. In response to intense competition from off-shore producers, the industry has initiated efforts to reduce these losses and regain competitiveness. This note provides background information on the U.S. apparel industry and describes the concept of "Quick Response," a strategy that increases the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers by increasing their ability to quickly respond to shifting markets. Describes changes in technology, information systems, and channel relationships that are necessary to implement a Quick Response system.

Keywords: Information; Distribution Channels; Performance Efficiency; Partners and Partnerships; Adaptation; Business Strategy; System; Technology; Apparel and Accessories Industry; United States;


Hammond, Janice H. "Quick Response in the Apparel Industry." Harvard Business School Background Note 690-038, February 1990. (Revised April 1991.)