When it landed a contract with the National Football League, New Era Cap knew it would need a major DC overhaul. What it didn’t know was that it would have just six months to do it. It often takes a catalyst to spur a company to fix something that on its surface doesn’t appear to be broken. The catalyst can take many forms, but it’s frequently a major event like an acquisition or new contract. Such was the case a few years back for New Era Cap Inc., when it landed a major five-year licensing deal that promised to double its sales volume. New Era is the number one provider of licensed headwear in the world, and it has a long history of supplying hats to professional athletes and sports fans alike. The company has held the contract to supply caps to Major League Baseball (MLB) since the 1970s, providing all of the headwear major leaguers wear on the field. It supplies the same style hats to concession stands and retail shops at the ballparks as well as to other merchants that sell team apparel, including sporting goods retailers (like Dick’s, Footlocker, Lids, and The Sports Authority) and department stores. New Era distributes all of these hats through its 300,000-square-foot distribution center (DC) in Harrisburg, Pa., which is operated by Menlo Logistics. The facility processes only hats; other sites handle T-shirts and other apparel. About 60 percent of the company’s total goods pass through Harrisburg. The hats themselves come in a dizzying variety. By way of illustration, consider what’s involved in the MLB business alone. While baseball has only 30 teams, each team may have three or four different caps, such as home, away, and a couple of alternate caps. Plus, each of these caps comes in a range […]
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