Wolverine is aiming to improve speed to market

Wolverine is aiming to improve speed to market

US clothing and footwear business Wolverine Worldwide has revealed a new strategic platform, which aims to boost product innovation and speed to market, and will be helped by the opening of a new innovation hub next year.

According to the company, 'Wolverine Way Forward' is a "comprehensive strategic platform" designed to drive growth and expand profitability, made up of the company's most important strategic initiatives.

Along with speed and agility, these include a healthier supply chain, increased investment in e-commerce, efforts to streamline the organisation, actions to improve the company's capital structure, and strategic alternatives for several brands including divestiture, such as that of its Robeez brand.

"We are intent on protecting our brands through responsible brand stewardship and delivering growth by leveraging our focus on our consumers, product innovation and speed, all while driving operational excellence and expanding operating margin," explains Wolverine chairman, CEO and president Blake Krueger.

To help drive this, the company will open a new 14,000 sq ft consumer and innovation hub next month, co-locating consumer insights, strategy, advanced concepts, and product development teams in what Krueger calls a "modern, collaborative environment".

Speed and agility are key elements of Wolverine's new strategic platform, with its brands "keenly focused" on streamlining the innovation process, which will in turn reduce lead times. The new consumer and innovation hub aims to facilitate this, while the supply chain team enables faster production lead times for core product initiatives.

In addition, the company plans to open its first distribution centre on the west coast by mid-2017, which is expected to reduce time to market and provide logistics cost savings in 2018.

At the same time, Wolverine's work to position the company for improved profitability through its operational excellence initiatives continues. According to Mike Stornant, senior vice president and chief financial officer, it is on track to deliver against its 2018 adjusted operating margin goal of 12%.

"We have made significant progress against our plan to position the organisation for improved growth and profitability," he adds. "We believe we have the right strategies in place, and I am enthused by the opportunity ahead of us."

According to Stornant, the company expects to deliver at least 150 basis points of adjusted operating margin expansion in 2017.

"While the macro environment remains challenging, we are focused on controlling what we can control, encouraged by the progress we've made, and excited about the initiatives we have underway," he says.

In October the company reaffirmed its full-year outlook after revealing higher earnings in its third-quarter and sales in line with expectations.

Wolverine Worldwide reaffirms outlook on "strong" Q3