ECCO Shoes: building an innovative supply chain
Quality Danish shoemaker ECCO Shoes has shifted its focus eastwards in recent years. By moving functionalities to Singapore, the company is now closer to its substantial Asian manufacturing base, and is driving innovation across its supply chain. Quickly becoming one of the regional industry leaders has just been one effect of the move, explains Supply Chain Director Scott Phillips. The city-state boasts fantastic infrastructure links and one of the most business-friendly environments in the world, both of which Phillips and his team have leveraged to build a fit for purpose operations hub. Business Review Asia speaks to him at length to learn how this was achieved, and what challenges have been overcome.
Founded by Birte and Karl Toosbuy in 1963, ECCO has always adhered to the Scandinavian philosophy of functionality and simplicity. Still a family business five decades on, the company has swelled to produce 20 million pairs of shoes per year, going out to nearly 90 countries with a 19,500-strong workforce worldwide. ECCO, despite its size, owns the majority of its assets. “We are almost 100 percent owner operated throughout our production operations,” Phillips explains.
“We make the leather, we make our shoes; we own a lot of our own warehouses. We also have owner operated retail space and e-commerce platforms. Our strategy is to to grow the owner operated footprint in both retail and e-commerce.”
For ECCO, moving operations to Singapore was crucial. Phillips says: “The aim is be closer to our operations; 70 percent of our manufacturing is in Asia - Indonesia, China and Thailand, and the other 30 percent is in Europe.
“Having the daily global operations in Denmark, which is a long way away from Asia, made things a bit difficult. Also the access to new talent pools in Asia is seen as an opportunity for running companies completely based in Asia.”
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