Nov 29, 2015
Under Armour (NYSE:UA) is looking to change the way it makes products buy innovating the manufacturing process. In the most recent quarterly conference call, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank told investors more about this coming manufacturing innovation, which the company is calling "Project Glory."
Manufacturing hasn't caught up
Plank explained during the call that footwear and apparel manufacturing facilities have yet to modernize like other industries have. The picture he paints harks back to the days of the industrial revolution with what he says requires upward of 150 people to build a single shoe end to end. How can this still be the case? From the ease of manufacturing abroad in recent decades it seems that there has been little need for companies innovate manufacturing as labor costs have been low enough to still keep margins high on footwear and other apparel.
Project Glory's ambitious goal
Plank and his team know that this needs to change, and say it's time to focus on "local for local" again. Under Armour has already been innovating its manufacturing approach and Plank says that it has already reduced the number of "human touches" by up to 30% from when it first started, but he says there is plenty of room to run. Therefore, Under Armour is preparing to open a new facility in Baltimore in 2016 called "Lighthouse," a 133,000-square-foot renovated city garage that will be the start to Under Armour's new "Project Glory" manufacturing process improvement.
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