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Socks Redux

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For the past few years, I’ve worn predominantly Tommy Hilfiger black socks, as they have been fitting well to my somewhat large (EU48, US13) feet. Their quality has varied a bit in the past, some pairs breaking faster than others while my usage pattern has been nearly identical.

Now the last two pairs seem to be of different cloth altogether, rendering the sock too short and much too tight for my, well, not tiny gastrocnemii. It seems that my relationship with Tommy is turning sour.

Having bought something like fifty pairs from Tommy, I wonder why I haven’t been a more interesting customer for them. As I wrote already in Platform Socks, I would be a perfect customer for Socks-as-a-Service, as long as I could be certain that I get stable quality and supply. A perfect subscriber.

Many companies now boast Digital Twins for their factory machines, like the ones making socks. These machines are continuously measured, preventively maintained and thus operate at higher efficiency. This is all nice and good, but why am I still getting unsatisfactory product after being a loyal customer for years?

The reason is that the Twin – or spime as we call the next evolution of it, still does not reach the most important object – the mass-produced product itself. Goods are tagged, labelled, serialized and all that, but the lifecycle thinking ends half way when the product leaves the store (or web shop) towards me.

To improve efficiency and stay competitive, manufacturers need to learn a lesson or two from subscriber-based businesses. The key is to see the full lifecycle and manage it with all available options, such as IoT and smart, disposable sensors – whatever means to get to know and interact with customers better. Technology is not the obstacle anymore, just the attitude.

Tommy, I’ll give you one more chance.

//Pasi

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