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Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread - reviews, pictures, sizing, etc... - Page 2946  

post #44176 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElDave View Post

I think it's interesting that the only acceptable model in there - the Bleeker - was designed by a student with a stated background in Menswear Fashion Design. Strangely, the Wright, despite being designed by a non-American with no knowledge of "Midwest values" was still acceptable (although I wouldn't buy it.) The Strata was just awkward and I think that student should stick to womens' designs. I hate saying this because there's a very nice story behind it, but the Frontier Boot is hideous.
One of the worst boots I've ever seen.

I think we have to look at the source of the design. Parsons is a great design school, but I would bet that many of the students would love to get into fashion. Go to fashion week and tell me if any of the "high fashion" things on the runway are things that any average person would wear. The idea is that the industry take cues from these designs and implement them in everyday RTW. Granted, this is my layman opinion. I agree that the Bleeker is the closest to a real product, and the Wright is an acceptable second.

post #44177 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCer View Post

I am not by any means a 'big-time' AE shoe buyer, but reasonable, with my 12 or so pairs. But I watch this, and the MTO threads very closely out of deep curiosity (and envy). What I am absolutely shocked and amazed at, is the huge numbers of seconds, such that AE has been forced to create retail outlets and regular sales to liquidate, AND the incredible number of rejected MTO's.

In my career, I work with retailers and manufacturers, and think I know a little about the manufacturing and QC process. I have heard quite a lot of the Japanese manufacturing 'teams' that they employ, with huge accountability.

With the large numbers of less-than-perfect quality product that AE produces, and then even allows to get through their QC, one wonders who's steering the ship? Is there no responsibility on the assembly lines? Are there no lot numbers, traceable back to certain shifts or even specific employees? It appears that their shoemakers may just be assigned to a shoe assembly line depending on who showed up for shift first!? Do they make a new shoe every day, or do they gain experience in a certain shoe type, becoming experts? Seems not.

And for MTO's, which are by definition, something unique, special, and being created to be cherished by that customer - these should be created by their top performers. By some of the posts here, it seems the last guys to show up for shift that day get assigned to the dreaded MTO line - no special experience necessary. So it seems.

And have their QC inspectors ever seen a pair of shoes before? How did the shoes above make it into a box? Do they treat the QC position as a low-end entry level job? In my mind it would be a perfect position for maybe a semi-retired or injured shoemaker who doesn't have the dexterity to work the machines anymore (arthritis, finger/hand injuries, etc), but who intimately knows the construction of a fine pair of shoes. Doesn't seem that's the case. More like "yep, it's got a sole, upper, tongue, and someone put some laces in them - ready to go!"

With the unbelievable quantity of seconds they flush through regularly, I wonder how much their everyday (firsts) retails are affected? If they improved their accountability on the manufacturing lines, improved their quality to almost eliminate seconds, could the everyday pricing be much lower? Instead of $300 for firsts, and 2/$250 seconds, would/could the everyday price of Allen Edmonds shoes be $225 (or whatever).

Sorry for my rant, take it for what it's worth and carry on...I just felt like venting from afar.

Part of the rant is predicated on how many shoes do they sell every year? How many of them are seconds? We see a lot of seconds on this site because that's what people here buy. I think there is a bit of an observation bias here.

Also, I doubt they will ever drop price. The prices have been steadily increasing, and people regularly use price as a mental shortcut for quality, so cutting price may lead people to believe quality has dropped.
post #44178 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElDave View Post

I think it's interesting that the only acceptable model in there - the Bleeker - was designed by a student with a stated background in Menswear Fashion Design. Strangely, the Wright, despite being designed by a non-American with no knowledge of "Midwest values" was still acceptable (although I wouldn't buy it.) The Strata was just awkward and I think that student should stick to womens' designs. I hate saying this because there's a very nice story behind it, but the Frontier Boot is hideous.
One of the worst boots I've ever seen.

I actually quite like the Strata (though there is something odd with the finish of the facing top-line that would need to be corrected for production) and I think it would look very fetching in a burgundy. The Bleeker and the Wright, while well done, look to me like thousand other such boots and shoes. On the Frontier, I will absolutely agree: it is completely atrocious.

post #44179 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencycle View Post

Part of the rant is predicated on how many shoes do they sell every year? How many of them are seconds? We see a lot of seconds on this site because that's what people here buy. I think there is a bit of an observation bias here.

Also, I doubt they will ever drop price. The prices have been steadily increasing, and people regularly use price as a mental shortcut for quality, so cutting price may lead people to believe quality has dropped.

Yes I agree. It's just an observation, and likely biased. I've personally asked the outlets for a list of seconds in my size, and it boggled me - that's just one size. But even so, if it's a couple hundred pairs, and you multiply by every size, we're talking a few thousand shoes - in their system at one time. Seems a lot, but how many pairs do they sell in a year - that's the unknown. Doesn't excuse flaws in custom order MTO's being produced in the first place, and then shipped to consumer in the end.

Just a rant, and I do love my AE shoes. Seems their new owners might be able to spend some time tweaking a few things.

Who knows what we'll be seeing and talking about as far as quality and seconds in a year's time.
post #44180 of 70737
Wearing my Black Shell Park Avenues today. I've worn these several times and at the $299 2nd price point I consider them an excellent value. With that said, there are several things that irk me about these shoes.

These shoes creased on the outside of the captoe on the right shoe. Not a big deal but I notice. There is also a lot of bowing around my ankle. So much so that I was willing to send them back until I tried putting an additional insole in them. This cut down on the extreme amount of bowing but it also made the shoes a little too tight. These have since loosened up a bit but are far from the fitting like my other AE's. I'm not sure why these particular shoes have these problems as my other shoes in the same size and on the same last have none of the issues. Oh well, for $299 can I really complain. They still fit the bill when I need a black dress shoe. Being a minister probably facilitates black shoes a little more than most other professions.

post #44181 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencycle View Post


Part of the rant is predicated on how many shoes do they sell every year? How many of them are seconds? We see a lot of seconds on this site because that's what people here buy. I think there is a bit of an observation bias here.

Also, I doubt they will ever drop price. The prices have been steadily increasing, and people regularly use price as a mental shortcut for quality, so cutting price may lead people to believe quality has dropped.

I don't get the rant. Seconds exist because some people can overlook issues if the shoe still looks reasonably good and AE gets to make some revenue off of a defective shoe. Yields in any manufacturing industry where the product can't be substantially altered after assembly are going to result in a large number of defective products. I used to be in the semiconductor industry where, at the time, we were lucky if our yields hit 45%. We were throwing away half of our production, as there is no market for unreliable chips. At least AE is able to sell the marginal stuff and recoup most of the cost.

 

As for AE fit & finish quality, it has always been "inconsistent" in my experience. They use good materials, the shoes are constructed using proper techniques and they do seem to hold up well over time. That said, while I don't have a huge collection of AE's, they do make up the core of my (humble) shoe collection and in the last 10 years, every AE shoe I have bought has had at least one issue (a borked stitch, broguing chads that needed to be picked out and, even on my first pair, problems with the heel). 

 

Why do I keep buying AE's? Because I happen to find that their shoes fit well and look terrific. Can you find a better made or better looking shoe for the money? Quite possibly. However, I don't think you can find a better made, better looking shoe that is as comfortable, has as many fit options, manufacturer recrafting and has easy access manufacturer retail outlets at the AE price point.

post #44182 of 70737
Sure. My point was simply we see lots of seconds in here because there are a lot of seconds sale shoppers in this thread. Without data. there is no way of telling how effective AE's manufacturing process is. Are they already using Lean? Could they benefit greatly from it? I don't know because I don't have the data.

I agree with you though. I buy AE shoes for the same reasons you mentioned - particularly as a narrow footed individual.
post #44183 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastor View Post

Wearing my Black Shell Park Avenues today. I've worn these several times and at the $299 2nd price point I consider them an excellent value. With that said, there are several things that irk me about these shoes.

These shoes creased on the outside of the captoe on the right shoe. Not a big deal but I notice. There is also a lot of bowing around my ankle. So much so that I was willing to send them back until I tried putting an additional insole in them. This cut down on the extreme amount of bowing but it also made the shoes a little too tight. These have since loosened up a bit but are far from the fitting like my other AE's. I'm not sure why these particular shoes have these problems as my other shoes in the same size and on the same last have none of the issues. Oh well, for $299 can I really complain. They still fit the bill when I need a black dress shoe. Being a minister probably facilitates black shoes a little more than most other professions.

 

I think they'd break in better if they were a more lively part of your rotation. I'm sure you could have a cobbler stretch them a hair if necessary!

post #44184 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterFu View Post

I don't get the rant. Seconds exist because some people can overlook issues if the shoe still looks reasonably good and AE gets to make some revenue off of a defective shoe. Yields in any manufacturing industry where the product can't be substantially altered after assembly are going to result in a large number of defective products. I used to be in the semiconductor industry where, at the time, we were lucky if our yields hit 45%. We were throwing away half of our production, as there is no market for unreliable chips. At least AE is able to sell the marginal stuff and recoup most of the cost.

As for AE fit & finish quality, it has always been "inconsistent" in my experience. They use good materials, the shoes are constructed using proper techniques and they do seem to hold up well over time. That said, while I don't have a huge collection of AE's, they do make up the core of my (humble) shoe collection and in the last 10 years, every AE shoe I have bought has had at least one issue (a borked stitch, broguing chads that needed to be picked out and, even on my first pair, problems with the heel). 

Why do I keep buying AE's? Because I happen to find that their shoes fit well and look terrific. Can you find a better made or better looking shoe for the money? Quite possibly. However, I don't think you can find a better made, better looking shoe that is as comfortable, has as many fit options, manufacturer recrafting and has easy access manufacturer retail outlets at the AE price point.

Fair, and great comments. I just re-read my rant, and maybe I got a bit wound-up. Lol. As I said, I've got maybe a dozen pairs of AE, and my collection will quite likely grow. I love the brand I find the seconds thing bizarre personally, and still do not see how some of the poor quality stuff makes it past QC, PARTICULARLY when it comes to custom MTO shoes. But that's for me to wonder about I guess.

No harm or undue criticism was meant in my rant by any means. Maybe I'll try to delete it (edit: accomplished)...one should think strongly before throwing 'stuff' out there. Haha.

All's good. Excuse me while I go polish my AE heard.
post #44185 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencycle View Post

Sure. My point was simply we see lots of seconds in here because there are a lot of seconds sale shoppers in this thread. Without data. there is no way of telling how effective AE's manufacturing process is. Are they already using Lean? Could they benefit greatly from it? I don't know because I don't have the data.

I agree with you though. I buy AE shoes for the same reasons you mentioned - particularly as a narrow footed individual.

I am pretty sure, that within the confines of their manufacturing domain and stated corporate goals (keeping manufacturing in the US), they are using some justifiable variation of lean or the PE guys wouldn't be as hands off as they have been. I recall reading that they dramatically restructured manufacturing backing in the early 2000's with the specific goal of improving quality and production yields (If you google it, I am sure you'll find it). In fact, all those strongly marketed seconds are also strong indicator of lean.

post #44186 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterFu View Post

I am pretty sure, that within the confines of their manufacturing domain and stated corporate goals (keeping manufacturing in the US), they are using some justifiable variation of lean or the PE guys wouldn't be as hands off as they have been. I recall reading that they dramatically restructured manufacturing backing in the early 2000's with the specific goal of improving quality and production yields (If you google it, I am sure you'll find it). In fact, all those strongly marketed seconds are also strong indicator of lean.

For those of is who don't work in business, could y'all explain "Lean"? I find the discussion interesting but can't follow the jargon.
post #44187 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterFu View Post

I am pretty sure, that within the confines of their manufacturing domain and stated corporate goals (keeping manufacturing in the US), they are using some justifiable variation of lean or the PE guys wouldn't be as hands off as they have been. I recall reading that they dramatically restructured manufacturing backing in the early 2000's with the specific goal of improving quality and production yields (If you google it, I am sure you'll find it). In fact, all those strongly marketed seconds are also strong indicator of lean.

Sure. Like I said, the whole point of my response to the rant was that we have an observation bias in this thread because of all the people buying seconds. I think there is a valid point around the MTO shoes, but without knowing how many MTO shoes AE makes every year, I don't know if it is that bad. I mean, if they sell 100,000 MTO pairs of shoes, and we're seeing a few hundred rejects ending up on ebay or B&S, that seems trivial.
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post

For those of is who don't work in business, could y'all explain "Lean"? I find the discussion interesting but can't follow the jargon.

Lean is a process improvement technique. The basic premise is measure what is important and work to always improve it - it isn't a project to make a process better, but it is a method of continuous improvement. It is what agile development in the programming world is based off of, and now it is being applied to business startups. If you're interested there are a lot of books on the subject. I would recommend The Goal by Goldratt to start.
post #44188 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post


For those of is who don't work in business, could y'all explain "Lean"? I find the discussion interesting but can't follow the jargon.

Easier for me to let Wikipedia do it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing

 

Essentially, as far as I am concerned, it's the default model for manufacturing and actually applies to much larger domains than just manufacturing. For example in cloud computing, we focus on elimination of every component (software, hardware and infrastructure) that doesn't result in some benefit to the user. In a modern SAAS cloud-scale deployments, the OS is as paired down as possible, no cylce wasting hypervisor, as the workload is highly standardized to run on bare metal; when dealing with 100k servers, even the 4-10% hit of a virtualization stack amounts to substantial sums of money. Hell, even the ambient temperatures of the datacenter are kept at around 95 degrees (modern hardware doesn't require the thermal controls of yesteryear's hardware) and use simple forced air cooling (AC compressors are only turned on if temperatures in the facility are rising in an uncontrolled fashion due to high external temps).

 

So the basic concepts of lean can be applied outside of the domain of manufacturing.

 

Now back to shoes and stuff.

post #44189 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post


For those of is who don't work in business, could y'all explain "Lean"? I find the discussion interesting but can't follow the jargon.

I believe it's similar, if not the same, as "Kaizen" which is what I learned it as.

post #44190 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterFu View Post
 

Easier for me to let Wikipedia do it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_manufacturing

 

Essentially, as far as I am concerned, it's the default model for manufacturing and actually applies to much larger domains than just manufacturing. For example in cloud computing, we focus on elimination of every component (software, hardware and infrastructure) that doesn't result in some benefit to the user. In a modern SAAS cloud-scale deployments, the OS is as paired down as possible, no cylce wasting hypervisor, as the workload is highly standardized to run on bare metal; when dealing with 100k servers, even the 4-10% hit of a virtualization stack amounts to substantial sums of money. Hell, even the ambient temperatures of the datacenter are kept at around 95 degrees (modern hardware doesn't require the thermal controls of yesteryear's hardware) and use simple forced air cooling (AC compressors are only turned on if temperatures in the facility are rising in an uncontrolled fashion due to high external temps).

 

So the basic concepts of lean can be applied outside of the domain of manufacturing.

 

Now back to shoes and stuff.

So its what we social scientist academics call parsimony.

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