Corporate apparel is an important tool for business.
The right uniform can deliver a wealth of benefits – building your brand with every customer interaction and motivate employees, increasing productivity and engagement. It can create a sense of pride that inspires. Once the program is in place, many companies find unexpected additional benefits (if you want to know more about those benefits then make sure to check out the blog).
The benefits of corporate apparel are obvious. Unfortunately, many businesses struggle to implement an effective corporate apparel program – missing out on all those sweet benefits, they may be hurting their business.
Let’s look at a few of the problems you may face with an in-house corporate apparel program.
5 Dangers of an In-House Corporate Apparel Program
The problems you may encounter with an in-house corporate apparel program typically fall in three different areas: cost, management, and maintenance.
- Time: An apparel program can be a very significant investment in both time and resources, especially in the early stages of the project. Consider managing the inventory, working with vendors, staying on top of prices and the supply chain. Look at the requirements for ordering and supplying different locations and managing problems as they happen. Many companies underestimate the resources necessary for the program, and it can quickly overwhelm the employees assigned to manage it. The result – your apparel program becomes an out-of-control monster that can burn out your best employees.
- Cost: You have many options when it comes to selecting and purchasing corporate apparel. When looking for a supplier, you need look no further than the internet. There are companies everywhere ready to sell you apparel. The problem is, most businesses don’t understand the apparel industry and don’t have the experience or expertise to ensure they are getting the best deal – the highest quality apparel at the lowest cost. The result – the company often overpays for lower quality apparel.
- Diminishing Returns: Many apparel programs start off with a bang but quickly fizzle. New uniforms are exciting at first, but the excitement fades. Any regulations and standards around the program are forgotten, as employees fall back into familiar behaviors and dress. This is especially common with enterprise organizations with multiple locations across a wide region. The implementation of the program can differ widely across regions, even across stores or work shifts. The result – a program that isn’t optimized and isn’t delivering the expected benefits (and certainly isn’t doing your brand any good).
- Inefficiency: For many corporate apparel managers, an increasing amount of time and resources must be devoted to maintaining efficiency with the program. Often this is simply finding and solving the constant problems that occur – missing shipments, damaged apparel, a mis-stitched logo or miscommunication between managers. Shipping is a common problem, with increasing complexity as the program grows and new employees are onboarded, problems and inefficiency increase. The result – the company quickly finds they are throwing more and more resources at managing problems rather than solving them.
- Competition: With so much benefit available from a corporate apparel program, you know the competition will be leveraging corporate apparel as well. The question is, how do you stay a step ahead of the competition with your program? How do you continue to build your program while monitoring the market? Sure, there are a few things you can do, like a surveys and competitive analysis, but maximizing and optimizing the benefit is something few companies can adequately manage, leaving an opportunity for a savvy competitor to gain an advantage. The result – what was once a company strength quickly becomes stale.
Getting Started with Corporate Apparel
While some businesses see corporate apparel as table stakes in a competitive market, others see it as an opportunity to gain an edge on the competition. The right apparel offers clear benefits – building a strong brand and trust between employees and customers.
A corporate apparel program offers the resources a business needs. It fills in the expertise and resource gaps that can limit the efficiency and benefit of the overall program. The program manager has the industry connections to ensure high quality apparel at the lowest possible price. Since the company is managing multiple programs, you also benefit from best practices and shared resources, significantly reducing the overall cost of the program.
If you’d like to learn more about corporate apparel programs, and how you can leverage the expertise and resources of an expert in the programs, then contact GO2 Partners today for more information.