Professor of Supply Chain Management Simon Croom Shares Expert Opinion with Supply Chain Dive

Monday, April 8, 2019TOPICS: Leadership

Simon Croom with branded lines

Supply Chain Dive published an article featuring Adidas as a cautionary tale and how supply chains can avoid the same fate. In the article, USD School of Business Professor of Supply Chain Management Simon Croom offered his take on Adidas' current situation and what went wrong. See article below.

Adidas' 'Supply Chain Shortages' Offer a Cautionary Tale

When Adidas put out its annual report for 2018, a phrase from the accompanying press release went up like a bat signal to those focused on operations: "supply chain shortages."

Problems with the athletic wear company’s majority Asian suppliers would negatively affect sales growth for the first half of the year, the report explained.

Adidas hasn’t given too many details, so we don’t know exactly what internal dynamics caused the shortage. It’s also important to note that annual reports include what companies decide to publicize – not everything going on behind closed doors.

What we do know is the brand has been experiencing unexpectedly high demand for mid-range apparel in the North American market. Adidas' woes offer a cautionary tale for supply chain managers, who can glean lessons from the apparel brand's shortfalls and avoid a similar fate. 

Was The Sportswear Brand Slow on The Uptake?

The central question at the heart of any shortage is, is the problem the result of a failed understanding of demand, failed communication from buyer to supplier, the supplier's failure to produce or a combination of these factors?

Simon Croom, academic director of the Master's in Supply Chain Management program at the University of San Diego, told Supply Chain Dive that what he sees in Adidas’ situation is a possible slow signal uptake.

"Essentially it’s a classic case of having a low responsive supply chain (in outsourced manufactured products) when demand changes are substantial. In essence, it is a form of bullwhip effect that is more connected to inappropriate supply chain design than either procurement or planning," Croom said in an email.

Lag time, one might say, is the mark of an inflexible, sluggish supply chain.

"Adidas’ CEO says they... 


Renata Ramirez
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