The news of Adidas acquiring Reebok made Jim and Anne Davis contemplate on the status of their own company, New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., one the top five athletic footwear companies worldwide (Bowen, Huckman & Knoop, 2006, p.373). But New Balance is not shaken. In fact, the company retained its balance (pun unintended) among the giants.
New Balance prides in its New Balance Executional Excellence (NB2E), initiated to improve “quality and efficiency” of the company’s processes (Bowen, Huckman & Knoop, 2006, p. 373). The company has been reaping rewards but it is New Balance’s distinct features that make the company stand out among a sea of competitors. These include:
·Being different- selling shoes in multiple widths, unique product designs
·Embracing corporate social responsibility (CSR)- people empowerment, contributing to social causes, using ordinary people as endorsers as against celebrity endorsers
·Targeting small retailers, creating sales-based commission for independent sellers, installing a “state-of-the-art” distribution center
·Focusing on operations improvement in supply chain, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution (p. 376-385).
What other companies can glean from the success of New Balance is its insistence on what works but at the same time trying to test the waters with new ideas. Its multiple width shoes are best sellers, so they continue to do it. Espousing CSR not only motivates employees to do their job well, it also helps them cope with the challenges and changes that industry trends may bring. While NB2E form the crux of the company’s success, the company’s culture has something to do with New Balance’s survival. This just goes to show that if employers know how to nurture their employees, it will benefit not only the company but the individuals in it.