Sophie: A Global Teething Trend

Can a product regain a strong market position and become a trend after 50 years? Yes, it can! Sophie the French Giraffe was the champion baby toy. An interesting article by “CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO” in the Wall Street Journal’s about a popular rubber toy that almost every French baby had for the last 50 years. We all know Barney, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, but Sophie?!

Sophie is invented by a French company “Vulli” it is made of pure rubber shipped monthly from Malaysia straight to the factory, and poured into a plaster with a capacity of 10 shaped Giraffes. After that they are put into an oven for couple of hours, and then
the Giraffes stay in boxes for two months until they are ready for the final touches of polish, inserting a whistle, sprayed by food grade paints and marking them with their tracking number via laser.

The story started when the company changed its CEO in 2006, he started to think outside the box, that if Sophie was that successful in France and sold 816,000 Sophie’s in 2010, It probably can compete with the different baby toys produced all over the globe; because from a philosophical point of view when we are born our brains are “Blank Tablets” so what makes a French baby different from an American or Chinese?  Mr. Jacuqimere decided to hire a Psychotherapist who concluded that babies are attracted through their five senses and accordingly Sophie was designed. Coming across the first barrier to globalization,
by translating the product attributes into 7 languages helped Sophie to become famous today. Further, Sophie is made of rubber not plastic which required more specialization in production; because it is difficult to be repeated.

On the other hand, safety is a major concern when it comes to babies and the most important thing parents
consider when purchasing a toy is the chemicals exposed to their babies, especially in Sophie that it has a direct contact to the baby’s mouth through their teeth. The CEO declared after the recent criticism Sophie received that
the product meets safety standards that are far beyond the EU standards and it “must be irreproachable.””.

Finally, Villu can be a great example for any company on how to bring their products back on the track. My questions
to you are: 1) at which phase of the product life cycle Sophie is today? 2) Despite the fact that Sophie “must
be irreproachable.””,
if the company wished reconsider that, how can they do so? 3) What other products you

can think about that can regain their position like Sophie? Fashion is one and will always be.



Celebrity Parents prefer Sophie for their Babies.







How Sophie attract Babies.





Asian Babies are in Love with Sophie too.




Below is the article link and there is  and interesting video that illustrates how Sophie is popular in the States.

Can IT Help Managing Your Inventory?

Speaking of inventory management and its impact on business operations, make’s it essential to have an information
system (IT) that is capable of providing timeless information to decision makers. Such information can include the minimum level to place a new order, tracking inventory between warehouse and show case shelves, on shelves movement, fast moving items, level of demand ….etc.

Information about inventory can differ according to the industry, each organization function within, for example a pharmaceutical company, where its inventory mainly, drugs and medications would require different set of information than a fashion company dealing with clothes. Regardless of the type of organization, it will require an information system that will take care of its inventory management. Moreover, one of the latest technologies used by many companies and stores nowadays is the “RFID” (Radio-Frequency identification) that generates a tag for that specific item and would then enable the store to track it.

However; “RFID” would need to be integrated to the main company information system in order to feed in all the required information about the inventory; therefore, many large organizations such as pharmaceuticals would consider ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) as a great solution, since they are dealing with a unique set of products. The two technologies together are capable of providing accurate data about the cost and usage of inventory, which will then help the finance team to forecast budget,
procurement team forecast order supply and track the dispensed medications, marketing team to prepare the required campaigns, etc. Moreover, imagine you place the same order twice; because you do not have updates on your stock,  is’nt that just a waste of resources!

My class mates would recall the case study we had about Zara Fashion store (2003) in MIS course, Zara did not have an integrated system managing their inventory, even though their products were fast moving and they would barely have stock. One of the practices they had was predicting the required order and the employee had to go and physically count the inventory! Guess what?!  They never failed in their estimations! Most of the class agreed that at the time the case was written Zara was doing a great job; however with globalization and strong competition out there they will not be able to survive with their current system.

Do you think a fully integrated IT system is essential for having a successful inventory management? Or experience would be enough in handling the situation? considering globalization, mass customization, customer satisfaction, rapid product and
service development… etc.

“Please note that the images below are samples googled”