Behind the scenes at an international brand powerhouse
VF is a great umbrella of famous brands including Timberland, Lee, Vans and The North Face. We recently had the opportunity to visit its corporate offices in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. This was an invaluable experience for us, especially those studying marketing and advertising in preparation for working at the Hinrich Foundation (HF) following graduation.
An inspiring working environment for employees
All eleven of us were warmly welcomed by three professional staffs from VF. They brought the scholars to each department in the 11-level VF office to learn about the VF staff. The cheerful working atmosphere around the staff members showed they enjoyed their work and drew inspiration from their environment. Hinrich scholars were really amazed by the working atmosphere of VF and they mentioned the positive impression it gave them many times.
“The staff has rooms like “lounge” to have lunch and relax themselves which are decorated finely,” said Anna. ”What impressed me most is the comfortable and considerable working environment it provides for their employees.”
Scholars with business back grounds gained perspective from the tour of VF and found satisfaction in the fact their class lessons were reflected in a real modern business environment like VF. VF’s operations are three-part: manufacturing, distribution and sourcing.
VF strives to provide their staff the chance to learn new things and develop necessary skills and knowledge through its career development program. This will help ensure their career’s stability by setting up capacity building.
“VF is making its greatest method to bring staffs together under the One VF policy,” said Micheal, a HF scholar from Mainland China.”What’s more, VF’s career development program also impressed me because of its clear instruction and direction.”
An apparel and footwear powerhouse
According to the briefing of Nicola Wainwright, Talent Acquisition and Engagement Manager of VF, 30 percent of VF manufacturing takes place at its own factories and 70 percent is outsourced to their factory partners.
Wainwright said VF produces 15 jackets per second. VF’s high capacity and efficient operation really impressed me. She told us the U.S. immigration uniform has been produced by VF, resulting in a positive image for VF in the states.
From her presentation, we learned about their working nature, vision and mission. To obtain balance in the global marketplace, VF is trying to operate in all parts of the world by outsourcing and marketing in both the U.S.and Asia. VF is also looking to extend their outsourcing to Southeast Asian countries. VF is also looking to expand in Cambodia and Myanmar, where they can support job opportunities and social welfare.
A professional working operation
We also had a chance to see a VF showroom of different brands that even had accompanying fitting rooms. Their practice of discussing trading and business issues there with buyers or business partners is excellent. Even though I though I have written about Myanmar’s garment industry, I have never come across such a great idea for promoting and highlighting products.
“There are showrooms of clothing samples for exhibition to buyers and the employees can purchase some samples with certain discount which shall enhance the corporation and staff relationship,”Anna, a scholar from Mainland China said.
VF established a partnership with the foundation this year. Tran To Linh, a journalism student from Vietnam, said she thought the trip to VF was very educational. She learned a lot about its business, got to explore the organization of the company and came to understand their sourcing strategies and their internship program.
“They were very enthusiastic to introduce about their working facilities, brands and products, and also the importance on waste minimization,” said Vietnamese student Ha Ly. “They try to maximize the output from the least input in any phase of production process.”
“The VF visit has provided me a great insight into how HR theories could be well applied into real business situations,” Chandler, an HF scholar from Mainland China, said.
“As a corporation focusing on development and teamwork, their emphasis on contextual behavior, indicated by a list of well-structured competencies, finely aligns with their corporate goals,” Chandler said. “They have offered the employees much discretion on their own career path which is also well controlled by the guidance of managers to keep every team members on right track.”
A successful visit with many things to learn
The VF trip was a great opportunity for all scholars to learn brand strategies, marketing, operation system of international cooperation and garment factory future trends also. I believe, our scholars were inspired by learning about industry, their operations and their work environment. Many thanks to VF for its tour and the introduction to VF business by enthusiastic VF staff.
VF acts as an umbrella to many famous brands including The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, JanSport®, Eastpak®, Kipling®, Lee®, Wrangler® etc. We recently had the opportunity to visit its Asia-Pacific region’s Sourcing head officein Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. This was an invaluable experience for us, especially those studying marketing and advertising in preparation for working at the Hinrich Foundation (HF) following graduation. For more information, please visit www.vfc.com.
About the Author – Myat May Zin