In 1986 Kevin Bacon stared as Jack Casey, in the movie, “Quicksilver”. Jack had dropped out of the corporate world and became a bike messenger. The movie glamorized his fellow messengers as colorful, anti-establishment, nonconformists, who had “an irreverent attitude toward motor vehicles and traffic control signals.”(1) The bike messengers used “messenger bags”, usually constructed of durable canvas and rugged waterproof construction. Through the 1980’s manufacturers of these bags popped up in many major metropolitan areas, and soon the demand for these bags grew beyond the ranks of the bicycle messengers. While messenger bags have their roots dating back to the late…
al and a custom made, internet based “Build Your Own Bag” product. Timbuk2s concept is rugged and stylish. The timbuk2 website describes Rob’s goal, “to make a messenger bag rugged enough for real bicycle messengers, yet stylish enough to appeal to a broader market of young, hip urbanites as an alternative to the traditional two-strap day pack. Our catchy name, three-panel design, distinctive ‘swirl’ logo, and the fact that we’re ‘Made in San Francisco’ added to our cachet.” I believe that Timbuk2 got their “foot in the door” with the messenger bag and captured an exploding market trend. San Francisco being the birthplace of the messenger trend and supposedly the most hard core riding environment gives the company credibility and edge. In my opinion, the key competitive dimensions driving sales for the messenger bags are quality, delivery speed, ability to cope with changes in demand, flexibility and new product introduction speed. The Quality Guarantee Timbuk2 offers is extremely generous and screams confidence. The company encourages customers that these bags “wear like hell”(paper on timbuk2). The “2-3 shipping days” policy for a custom made bag is evidence of the company’s delivery speed competitive dimension. This is extremely fast turnaround time for a fairly big corporation and proves this company has a fine tuned operation with close management, further solidifying the quality of its products. Timbuk2’s Brennan Mulligan focused on “Lean manufacturing” and “Mass customization” (paper). He determined that emphasizing on waste elimination and improving quality, he was able to accomplish smaller batch sizes. Once batch sizes as small as one bag, were achieved, Timbuk2 would be able to meet and cope with changes in demand. With lots of hard work and the acquisition of more machines, Timbuk2 accomplished this. We can accredit Timbuk2s final competitive dimensions, flexibility and new product introduction speed, to small batch sizes as well. Timbuk2 found cells of 5 workers, each one seeing a bag from start to completion, to be most efficient. This system ensured detailed attention to each bag, and whether or not a bag was a new design, the process would remain nearly the same. In my opinion, the competitive priorities for the bags manufactured in China, appear the same, however in reality the manufacturing process is pretty different. I feel that Timbuk2 has already captured a reputation with the concepts they emphasize, “Rugged and Stylish”, “hardcore”, “designed by messengers and made in San Francisco”. People already see this image when they hear Timbuk2. Some dye ...
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