Industry Focuses on Speed to Market at FN Platform

Time is money.
It was no wonder then that many of the footwear industry’s top players spoke during a panel session Tuesday morning at FN Platform about their sharpened focus on improving times for getting products to consumers.
“Customer expectations have changed because they want something new every day,” said Abe Rogowsky, owner of Shoe Parlor, a store in New York. “We need new stuff and customers want it. That’s why we need more manufacturing in the U.S. As long as it done overseas, it will take longer to get the product.”
Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser moderated the panel, which in addition to Rogowsky included Shoe Carnival Inc. President and CEO Cliff Sifford; Deer Stags EVP Rick Muskat; and Peter Hanig, owner of Chicago-based Hanig’s Footwear.
The speakers agreed that in a rapidly changing market, the retailers and wholesalers who offer new product on a regular basis will win.
Sifford said Shoe Carnival has been focused on improving its supply chain. In the process, he added, the retail chain tightened everything from merchandise flow to distribution delivery dates, all in a bid to move the imported footwear from the West Coast to its Indiana distribution center faster.
But doing so has its own challenges.
Muskat noted manufacturers, in general, are faced with more obstacles that can slow the delivery process. For starters, production in China has moved inland and there are more safety and compliance regulations put on factories.
“We need to be able to react quicker and respond to demands faster, but the logistics in China do make it tough,” he said.

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