Situation

The team sports division of a $200M apparel group targeting athletic leagues, clubs and schools with distribution primarily through sports team dealers and decorators, was experiencing declining sales and customer service; excessive inventory growth; and deteriorating financial results.  The apparel group management decided to replace the existing president with a new executive with extensive strategic and operational experience. The new president conducted an in-depth assessment of the overall situation and formulated a plan and execution strategy to correct these issues.

The major issues identified by this assessment included:

  • Weak financial control over procurement and inventory management
  • Absence of good forecasting and procurement tools
  • A culture of poor performance with organizational silos that were in constant conflict
  • Declining sales from a demoralized sales and customer service team that felt alienated from the home office operation
  • Poor customer satisfaction due to inventory non-availability at critical times for team uniform purchase, and errors in shipping and assortment
  • Several key management positions staffed by unqualified people

Solution

The company president, now a NextLevel partner, undertook these corrective actions:

  • Transformed the manufacturing and supply chain processes, cutting overhead expense 25%
  • Strengthened the leadership team and refocused on core business strengths
  • Implemented an MRP system module that improved inventory control and order management
  • Implemented a warehouse locator system to upgrade order picking and processing time, which reduced labor cost during seasonal demand shifts and located inventory for optimum efficiency
  • Shifted manufacturing sourcing from Asia contracting to a company-owned facility in Mexico that reduced lead times and cost
  • Hired a new design, merchandising and marketing team that revitalized a stale product offering, receiving accolades from customers and sales staff
  • Reshaped company culture to create a customer-centric teamwork attitude by breaking down department silos and poor internal communication

Results

  • Sales increased over 10% annually
  • Inventory was reduced by 50% with improved turns and better availability
  • Morale and culture dramatically improved with greater communication that produced major improvement to customer satisfaction
  • EBITDA improved from 8% of sales to 15%

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