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Meet Michael Londrigan: Fashion Industry Veteran and Supply Chain Aficionado
M Hi Michael, tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become an expert in the fashion industry supply chain?
M I spent close to thirty years in the fashion industry as well as fifteen years in academia, although I often hesitate to use the term fashion as much of the products that I was involved with during my career were more basic in nature. Those products were centered on men’s cut and sew knits and wovens.
During the course of my industry career I travelled extensively around the U.S as well as Europe and the Far East visiting factories, mills, and trim companies with a focus on delivering the best product at the right price in a timely fashion to my many retail customers.
I started my career in retail with JC Penney when they were in New York City and moved to the wholesale side where I really developed my education in the fashion supply chain. The interesting piece of this is that although I was involved in buying, sales, marketing, sourcing, logistics, and quality assurance, I had no idea at the time that these were all links in the supply chain. Today, all the various departments that interact with the product, from ideation to consumer, are considered integral links in that chain. When I moved over to academia after my last position with an Irish linen company, I decided to write the textbook Fashion Supply Chain Management, having identified a void in that space in education. I developed the outline and pitched it to Fairchild Books who had previously published my textbook Menswear: Business to Style and I was off, but due to administrative pressures at LIM, I needed help, so I brought on a second author. Trust me, I use the term expert lightly as there is so much to learn about the supply chain and with changes in technology and software platforms, there is literally something new every day. So that term to me is relative.
M Why did you want to create the Fashion Supply Chain: Concept to Consumer online course?
M I saw an opportunity to share the information that I had gathered over the course of my career and to use elements from my textbook to attract a broader audience. The interesting thing about the supply chain is that there are so many moving parts and so many opportunities for great careers, that many people do not know where to start. This course breaks down much of that information into manageable pieces so that anyone interested in this topic can take the course. By doing so they might be able to move up in their current company or interview for positions in supply chain with different companies. This course is about exposure and showing people that logistics can be as rewarding or exciting as sales or marketing. I teach a supply chain course in our graduate department at LIM and I am always surprised to hear from students that they had no idea how the supply chain operated, and at the end, they often tell me that they can see themselves in different roles based on the information. One of my goals is to share that information and maybe help someone make a life changing decision.
Michael Londrigan, educator, author, thought leader.
M What are the benefits of taking the course?
M As discussed earlier, it is about exposure to what can be viewed as a complex topic and breaking it down so that anyone can understand it. You do not have to be a seasoned supply chain professional to take this course. This information can be absorbed by people starting out in their careers and even those who are just curious and those who have no background in fashion can benefit as the supply chain process is something that happens across all industries. It is about increasing your knowledge base in a topic that you have interest in. My goal is always to have learners take away more than they knew when they started and to be able to apply some of that in their lives.
Fashion Supply Chain: Concept to Consumer
M The fundamental difference is that this course brings together all the various aspects of the fashion supply chain under one roof. The industry historically was very siloed with departments not knowing what the other was doing. In this course we show how they are all interconnected, in fact, there is a module dedicated to looking at how departments and key players within a fashion organization interact. By examining the supply chain from this perspective, you can see how the communication process benefits the organization and can help cut costs and better serve customers.
M How did you build the course? In what ways did you work with MOTIF?
M To say this was a team effort would be an understatement. I worked with others at LIM College, with our LMS Team and folks at MOTIF. Everyone played a key role in the development of this course. I first met the folks from MOTIF at a PI Apparel Conference that I chaired in NYC in January of 2018. We started discussing ideas for LIM College to collaborate with MOTIF to develop content and courses for the platform, and from there it grew into this course and several others developed by LIM College faculty.
M What were the challenges you faced during the course building?
M That one is easy: trying to fit all the content into modules that made sense, while at the same time making sure the information fulfilled the learning objectives that we established. We wanted the course to have some interactive parts so we added flip cards, questions and exercises that learners could do and develop an appreciation for the content. As I mentioned, this is a very broad topic and to distil it down into modules given the platform parameters, was where we did the most work. At the end of the day, the material had to be relevant and efficiently structured.
M Could you share any advice to learners taking the course so they can make the most of it ?
M Digest it in small bites. Take each part, analyze it and say, “how can I use this in my current role or how can I use this knowledge in my next career step, and how can it help me move up the ladder?” My goal is always to have those that I teach be able to take away some nuggets of information that can in some way increase their knowledge of and expertise in the subject or help them in their careers. Once the course is over, research topic that you found interesting and continue the journey. Become (or stay) that lifelong learner and always ask questions.
When I was traveling the world visiting those factories, I would ask so many questions. “Why this machine and not that one.” “Why are you doing it this way.” On my subsequent visits the factory manager would literally hide because he knew I would want to ask many more questions. That is one of the ways I learned so much about the supply chain. By staying inquisitive and challenging the status-quo.
M A favorite or inspiring saying to leave us with?
Fashion Supply Chain: Concept to Consumer
and globally dispersed supply chain
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Meet Michael Londrigan, the lead Instructor of the new “Fashion Supply Chain: Concept to Consumer” course, the second online course for professionals published by LIM College on MOTIF. Discover how seasoned industry executive Michael Londrigan caught the education bug and came to transfer his insider knowledge of the industry to a new generation of graduates and professionals.