A 100-year-old supply chain giant gets an innovative lift

When Li & Fung wanted to transform for the future, they turned to WeWork

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The challenge: creating a space that aligns with a future-forward company strategy

As technology continues to upend the retail industry, the 100-year-old supply chain giant Li & Fung found themselves under pressure to evolve. 

“Suppliers are changing, consumers are changing, sales channels are evolving, so we have to make a change,” says Wilson Zhu, COO of Li & Fung.  

From humble beginnings as a packaging vendor in 1906, Li & Fung grew to become the industry leader it is now. Today, Li & Fung has more than 17,000 employees in 230 offices and manages the supply chains of many of the world’s biggest retailers and brands. Yet they realized that in order to set up the company for long-term success, they needed to continue innovating and building the supply chain of the future—one that is inherently digital and moves at the speed of business.  

As part of that process, Li & Fung evaluated all areas of their business and decided to redesign their workplace to be more flexible. 

Li & Fung’s Shanghai office was packed. Clothing samples were hung up tightly against each other, and boxes full of products were stacked on the floor and shelves. Their space wasn’t able to accommodate all the materials they were handling in a systematic way, making the work environment crowded and disorganized. Additionally, their many business units were spread out on different floors, which made it hard to collaborate.

It was clear their office space needed to change to catch up with the company’s plans for the future.

The solution: a functional logistics solution and open, agile workplace that can expand

In order to create a new workspace to support the company’s innovation goals, Li & Fung turned to WeWork to build and design their regional headquarters in Shanghai

In just three months, the WeWork team created a logistics-handling solution and workspace for the company. It’s the first WeWork project in greater China that has a mixture of collaborative workspace and a large enterprise within the same building. Floors 10 to 16 serve as Li & Fung’s offices, while floors 1 to 9 are WeWork collaborative workspaces. This setup means the company can be agile with their real estate, and can easily expand onto the coworking floors if they should outgrow their current space. 

The new space allows for merchandise to be stored, examined, packaged, and delivered in an organized fashion, which streamlines the company’s workflow. The interior design features a mid-century color palette with touches of the brand identity. The majority of furniture comes from Li & Fung’s own catalog. 

“Design should not only be about form, but also about functionality. WeWork delivered a space that’s highly customized for our needs that improves day-to-day operations,” says Zhu.

The open workspace also utilizes technology-enhanced meeting-room booking, visitor check-in, and an app—all meant to help employees work seamlessly and more efficiently.

An open space in Li & Fung’s Shanghai office.

The result: ushering in a culture of innovation for a storied company

In just a few short months, WeWork created a thoughtful space tailored to Li & Fung’s needs. Through functional design, Li & Fung employees can now examine, organize, and ship products more quickly than before while still feeling connected to the brand. 

An added benefit of being situated near coworking spaces is that Li & Fung employees can connect with innovators in various industries. A common area on one floor of the building is reserved for events such as lunch-and-learns and yoga classes so that different departments, and even Li & Fung’s suppliers and consumers, can organically interact with each other. 

“The redesign of the office is a very important step in the transformation of our entire company to become the supply chain of the future,” says Zhu.

Li & Fung’s new regional headquarters is a space that imbues the storied company with a culture of innovation so that it can tackle whatever challenges may come—in the next 100 years and beyond. 

Key highlights

  • A functional space tailored to Li & Fung’s logistical business needs
  • Custom redesign and full buildout in just three months
  • The ability to expand the office on demand depending on the company’s needs
  • Interior design that features Li & Fung’s products and brand
  • Ready access to innovators in collaborative workspaces in the same building, as well as to community-building events

WeWork offers companies of all sizes space solutions that help solve their biggest business challenges.

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