VF’s Tom Glaser Addresses AAPN’s Charlotte Regional Conference


Thomas A. Glaser is a VP of VF Corporation and the President of their Supply Chain. Tom spoke to 100 attendees at the AAPN Charlotte Regional Conference on April 2.

As background, VF is the number 242 corporation on the Fortune 500. They will generate about $13.7 billion in revenue in 2019. They manage dozens of brands into markets worldwide.

In several months, VF will split into two companies. The new one, called Kontoor, will be made up of Wrangler and Lee. The remaining brands will continue in VF.

Like all companies, VF competes as a supply chain. Tom runs their supply chain with a staff of over 32,000 Associates spread across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Tom is arguably the most senior supply chain executive in our industry.

We are honoring his request not to share corporate numbers and other details from his nearly one hour long interaction with 100 of us in Charlotte. However in the last part of his presentation, which was highly interactive, he shared what he called "From my chair……10 focus areas" with an explanation of each. This list follows:

1) Responsible Sourcing (no more Rana Plaza disasters)
2) Talent and people, getting the right diverse team
3) Have a strategy, but execution is critical (Plan your Work and Work your Plan)
4) Quality: “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”
5) Managing globalization: Supply/Sourcing and VF brands into growing market
6) Getting faster to support: DTC and e-comm
7) Going digital (PD/data/AI/Manufacturing)
8) Trade issues: USMCA and China
9) Sustainability
10) Cost and Margin

As you know, we are big fans of lists compiled by the most proven veterans of our industry and THIS is the only supply chain list I've seen in my 25 years here. It does not so much matter what VF's view is on each, what matters is YOUR view on each, now that you have a list.

We thank Tom for giving us his time. Amazingly, just at the point when he was explaining how North Face was a cold weather brand focused on the Midwest and East, a blizzard erupted outside our window in Charlotte in APRIL. I've never seen anyone use such a powerful visual aid in any of our meetings EVER.


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