Four Ways VF Continues to Innovate the Supply Chain
Across VF Corporation’s family of brands, more than 410 million units of product were sourced last year. To keep this supply chain running smoothly and efficiently, innovation is key. Cameron Bailey, Executive Vice President of Global Supply Chain, shares his insights on how VF is addressing current issues and staying ahead by digitizing and implementing new technology to adapt to consumer behaviors.
1 – “Local for Local” Manufacturing. Supply chain stability is easier to achieve when goods are kept in their region of origin. At VF, we ship significantly fewer goods overseas than our competitors. For example, of the 14% of total units manufactured in China, the United States only imports approximately 3% of them. The Western Hemisphere produces 29% of the North American products. While regional operations can still experience challenges within the supply chain, alleviating the majority of shipping logistic stress gets our products to our consumers faster while decreasing our carbon footprint.
2 – Digital Technology. At VF, we believe the supply chain does not just start at manufacturing but begins at the creative stage. We have invested in cutting-edge digital technology to create 3D product renderings, effectively doing away with the need to ship prototypes between factories and offices, which eliminates waste and expedites the supply and demand process. These innovative platforms are used to address consumer demand quickly and improve the overall customer experience.
3 – Warehouse Efficiency. VF is supporting our workforce by introducing warehouse robots to fulfillment centers. These robots not only increase worker efficiency but help our shipping centers adjust to the increase of product demand online.
4 – Direct-to-Consumer Support. VF continues to add capabilities for direct-to-consumer transactions that address new consumer behaviors. These include pick-up-in-store and ship-from-store options. These additional options for fulfillment alleviate strain on ecommerce orders, increase inventory and reduce the amount of packaging used in-store.
VF has been innovating its supply chain well before the current pandemic-induced strains. We are continuously working to provide the most efficient and seamless customer journey, whether that is through the planning and building of new warehouses, investing in automation, or leveraging new technologies to elevate the consumer experience.