Headquartered in Stoughton, Massachusetts, Franklin Sports is a third-generation family business founded in 1946. The company employs a workforce of over 150 employees and has a revenue of approximately $200 million. However, its current CEO, Adam Franklin, is determined to expand the business significantly.
The Fastest-Growing Sport In America
The business has recognized the need to overhaul its supply chain to achieve this goal. Sporting goods companies must be able to accommodate substantial changes in demand and fast-growing new business lines, such as pickleball – which is, as we know, the fastest-growing sport in America – with an annual growth rate of nearly 160% over the past three years.
Without an efficient supply chain, companies may struggle to meet demand, allowing competitors to gain market share. Alternatively, companies may end up with excess inventory, leading to additional storage expenses and financial constraints. Paddleballs featuring the logo of the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) are one of Franklin Sports’ fast-growing product lines.
Meet the Powell Family, our #FranklinFamily of #MesaOpen.— APP Tour (@OfficialAPPTour) April 2, 2023
Grandma Jan got the crew into pickleball 6 years ago and they haven’t looked back! #APPfamily #APPTour @FranklinSports pic.twitter.com/Axso7VGGO8
Franklin Sports sells branded products and creates new branding concepts. Many of its products feature official sports logos, such as those of Major League Baseball, NHL, NFL, Major League Soccer, and the USAPA. An example of a branding concept is the company’s collaboration with “Six Feet of Sunshine” Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings, an American professional beach volleyball player, and three-time Olympic gold medalist. Franklin Sports currently sells three volleyballs bearing Ms. Jennings’ name.
New-Hire Becky Jordan Rises To The Challenge
Two years ago, Becky Jordan was hired to revamp the supply chain of Franklin Sports. However, the timing of her arrival proved challenging as she had to tackle the prolonged lead times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and on improving the supply chain. Ms. Jordan boasts extensive work experience in the sporting goods industry, having worked at Adidas and Reebok, where she gained valuable insights into supply chain management and its application in multinational companies.
Ms. Jordan leads a team of eight responsible for demand, inventory, and production planning. Despite the current economic uncertainty, which has resulted in retailers exercising caution in their purchasing decisions, Franklin Sports’ sales have increased by 15%.
Ms. Jordan reported today that Franklin Sports is experiencing significant growth in the pickleball category and is focused on protecting it from an inventory standpoint. While the sales team may want a 500% increase in inventory, such an approach is not feasible or in the business’s best interest. To strike a balance, the company utilizes statistical forecasts based on sales performance and growth trends in previous quarters while also considering the input from the sales team to ensure all accounts are protected.
Pickleball’s Solid Traction
Collaboration between the sales and operations teams has improved over time, and the company has learned that certain categories and accounts benefit from relying solely on statistical forecasts. However, the sales team’s input is necessary to achieve accurate predictions for high-growth items like their pickleball product line.
Pickleball is Franklin Sports’ fastest-growing category, and Ms. Jordan expressed excitement over the solid traction the company is gaining in the market. The company’s pickleball ball has been designated as the official ball of Pickleball USA and is used in various tournaments across the US. With its new sales and operations planning process, Franklin Sports is successfully securing the pickleball supply chain and selling its pickleball ball in over 40,000 brick-and-mortar stores nationwide.
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