Since 1979, The Antigua Group Inc. has been making some of the industry’s finest activewear for men and women, and its current position as one of the nation’s leading designers and marketers of lifestyle apparel speaks to that legacy. The company has long-standing relationships with some of the biggest names in sports, including Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, the NBA and the NFL. The Antigua Group also serves thousands of corporate clients with customized fashions, giving it an even stronger position in the marketplace.
All the product in the world won’t matter if customers can’t receive exactly what they want exactly when they want it, however. That’s why The Antigua Group’s supply chain operations play an essential role in the company’s success, and the company always is looking for ways to improve access for its customers. Director of Forecasting and Supply Chain Brian Lemna says providing customers with immediate access to the products they want is The Antigua Group’s primary goal from a supply chain perspective. That’s not always easy, especially considering the scope of the company’s operations and the ever-changing nature of the apparel world, but The Antigua Group is committed to ensuring it never gets left behind by the marketplace.
Combined with the company’s value-added services such as custom embroidery, The Antigua Group’s devotion to supply chain excellence provides it with an edge that is virtually unmatched in the apparel industry. Lemna says that as long as the company continues to focus on making improvements to its supply chain operations and providing solutions for its customers, it can expect to remain at the forefront of the industry for many years to come.
Right on Time
The key element of The Antigua Group’s success on the supply chain side is to make sure its key products are immediately available to customers, Lemna says. “Our inventory philosophy is one of in-stock, and we maintain all our essential products on an in-stock basis,” he says.
These essential products include knit shirts, caps and outerwear for men, women and children. Lemna says on top of this, the company offers value-added services such as embroidered logos for all of its essential products. Because many of the company’s products are licensed for professional and collegiate sports teams, having the right colors in stock is absolutely crucial, and being able to anticipate demand for particular teams and styles is one of the primary elements of the company’s supply chain success.
Forecasting is a vital part of any supply chain operation, but it is all the more important for The Antigua Group given how quickly trends change in the fashion world. That’s why the company is staffing up, Lemna says, adding experienced people to its demand-planning function. He adds that the positions are focused entirely on analyzing sales and incoming orders to make sure that the company’s inventory is properly adjusted to suit demands at the color level. Lemna explains that technology helps out a lot, but people using their experience to gauge demand goes a long way toward helping The Antigua Group keep up with its inventory goals.
“Forecasting software is important, and we’re looking at opportunities we can use, but the main thing in planning or forecasting for us is making sure goods are available,” Lemna says.
Better forecasting and planning will serve to help The Antigua Group stay in front of some of the company’s biggest supply chain challenges, Lemna says. One of the biggest is the lingering effect of the recession, which shuttered many suppliers and drove up material costs. Lemna says the company is counteracting this by consolidating suppliers to provide The Antigua Group better economies of scale, as well as greater security. Consolidation also is proving to be helpful on the freight side, where by partnering with its logistics service provider, the company is achieving greater efficiency by maximizing container utilization and improving unit costs.
The company’s emphasis on greater accuracy in planning and delivery scheduling also is helping The Antigua Group overcome challenges in capacity management, Lemna says. “Accurate planning there is one way to control costs,” he says.
Trends continue to change quickly, and keeping up with them is another area in which The Antigua Group believes more accurate forecasting can be of service. “In the apparel business, one of the main challenges is product innovation,” Lemna says. “Having a nimble supply chain that can execute rapid development and delivery is key to meeting that challenge.”
By cutting down the lead-time for products to reach customers, The Antigua Group can keep its products fresher and cycle innovations into the product lines more frequently. Being nimble from a planning perspective is what enables the company to do so, Lemna says.
As the company celebrates its 35th anniversary this year, Lemna says The Antigua Group is positioning itself for even greater success thanks in part to the improvements it has made on the supply chain side. “We’re constantly trying to improve from a supply chain perspective,” he says.
The detailed projections made by the company have been invaluable in helping The Antigua Group work with its suppliers and vendors, many of whom have been working with the company for more than 25 years. With the improvements it has made to its forecasting capabilities, Lemna says, The Antigua Group fully expects to maintain the same supply chain principles that have worked for the past 35 years and will carry on as it expands its supply base with its expected growth. “Our sourcing philosophy has always been one of sustainability,” he says.