Customers’ tend to stay with New Balance, preferring the perfect fit of their shoes. This form of product differentiation will always give them an edge on their competitors, who tend to focus on expensive marketing programs to push their shoes. Second, it differentiates from its’ competitors through its’ supply chain. New Balances’ supply chain is fluid, able to provide specific sizes and types of shoes almost immediately. It does this by producing the main modular parts of many shoes in Asia, and then assembling the final shoe in America.
This enables New Balance to provide a desired type or fit of shoe much faster than their competitors, while at the same time keeping manufacturing costs low. It also maintains its’ distributors’ inventories constantly while ensuring that there is never too much inventory, and never a shortage. Consequently, it have kept distributors’ loyal, and have boosted demand from other distributors for its’ products. In short, New Balance’s optimized supply chain, and its’ focus on individual customers, has kept them in business and competitive.
New Balance has continually improved their supply chain, focusing on providing their shoes in an progressively decreasing timeshare to their distributors. It recently implemented the New Balance Executioner Excellence (N.B.) manufacturing protocol, modeled on Toast’s successful production process. The goal of the process is, according to the CEO, to deliver 100% of the product to the customer within 24 hours. To accomplish this goal, N.B. aims to reduce manufacturing cycle times in its’ American plant by focusing on the reduction of individual shoes, rather than batches of product.