Apparel Supply Chain Challenges And Super Bowl Winner T-Shirts

A year ago, thousands upon thousands of t-shirts celebrating the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl triumph were donated to impoverished communities around the world. It was a nice, charitable gesture -- unless, of course, you’re a fan of the Super Bowl’s actual winners: the Green Bay Packers.

Each year, approximately 200,000 t-shirts are designed, manufactured, imported, and shipped around the United States to be ready for sale as soon as a Super Bowl victor is crowned. Of course, event the most insightful market research can’t predict which team’s fans will be in a winning (i.e. memorabilia-buying) mood after the big game, and even the most efficient apparel supply chain management can’t reduce speed-to-market to the, oh, blink of an eye needed to delay production until the game has already ended.

So Super Bowl shirt makers are left with only two options:

1. Miss that lucrative window when euphoric fans are shelling out big bucks

2.Produce apparel for both teams, and simply throw — or give — the losing team shirts away.

Apparently, plenty of apparel companies are picking option two. According to Mental Floss:
That’s a lot of misprinted shirts that can’t hit store shelves, and seem like fine candidates for the incinerator, instead. And for a long time, that’s where they went, with all four major American pro sports leagues — MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL — requiring the destruction of incorrect post-season apparel.

Fortunately, the leagues have changed the way they do things and now all four – plus manufacturers and retailers like Reebok, Sports Authority, Dick’s and Modell’s — instead give the gear to a group called World Vision, which saves the merch from certain doom and puts it to use.

The international humanitarian aid group collects the unwanted items over the days following the game at their distribution center in Pittsburgh, then ships it overseas to people living in disaster areas and impoverished nations. After losing Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, Arizona Cardinals gear was sent to children and families living in extreme poverty in El Salvador. In 2010, after the New Orleans Saints defeated Indianapolis, the Colts gear printed up for Super Bowl XLIV was sent to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

For apparel companies, big events like the Super Bowl can pose a steep challenge. Charity goals aside, to be able to take a loss on half your inventory, companies need to maximize efficiency and reduce costs as much as possible.

In other words, no small amount of strategic planning and expert apparel supply chain management is needed.

In fact, with only a two-week gap between when teams qualify for the Super Bowl and the big game itself (and in some years there is only a one-week gap), apparel makers are still faced with a very tight production window. There’s simply no room for manufacturing kinks, import snags, or shipping missteps.

When speed-to-market and supply chain efficiency matters most, The Apparel Logistics Group can help.

Posted: 2/15/2012 1:12:23 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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