From Grass to Ice: STX is Here to Stay


Matt Moulson, STX Athlete

The world of sports has seen many brands come and go. Nike, Adidas, and Reebok are all names I am sure you all have heard of. Some other extremely popular brands that you may not of heard of are Sherwood, CCM, and Warrior. The reason you may of not heard of these is because they are big brands for sports that are not as popular in the the U.S.  The brands that were mentioned above make gear for hockey and lacrosse, both of which are not as popular than sports like football, basketball, or baseball. Making a name for yourself in such competitive markets like these is not easy. One up and coming brand, STX, is trying to do just that.

STX is a company that makes everything Lacrosse. From protective gear, to high end lacrosse sticks, to apparel, STX makes it all. They are one of the leaders in this industry and recently have started to expand their brand into other sports such as hockey. Hockey and lacrosse have their obvious differences such as hockey is played on ice with a puck, and lacrosse is played on  field with a ball. Looking past that, the sports are fairly similar in regards to gameplay and players’ gear. Even though the similarities are prevalent, not many brands exist that carry both lacrosse and hockey gear. STX might be the next big name in hockey.

STX is not the first brand to make this transition. Warrior is one of the leaders in hockey protective gear and actually got their start in lacrosse before transferring over. Warrior is still at the top of both branches and STX wants to do the same. STX has just released their first set of player sticks and gloves for hockey this past month. This small introduction into the hockey world could be the start of something big. The sticks and gloves are already being sold in hockey stores across the country and they have even picked up some NHL players to showcase their gear on the professional level. Another way how the brand is attempting to make a quick entry into the market is through discounted team sales. As part of the club hockey team at DePaul, I have seen this first hand. An STX representative came out to a team practice and let the entire team demo their new line of sticks. After practice we were given the option to buy one or more sticks at an extremely discounted price. These sticks are pro quality and are comparable to many of the sticks on the racks today. This marketing ploy is one way that STX is going to grow as a hockey brand. The best way to get noticed is by getting exposure. STX has made a strong entry and I am excited to see what they roll out next.

My question for you is what do you think the next decision for STX should be to compete with other hockey brands.

Also, what are other brands that have expanded into different sport and how/why were they successful.



Santa’s Sleigh is not quite fast enough

This is an example how the holiday season disappointed customers

Last year was a terrible Christmas for many families in the United States. The majority of those families were those that put off their online holiday shopping until the last minute. UPS and FedEx were the two companies that were in the spotlight last year with an estimated 2 million late packages that did not get delivered on time for Christmas. This was due to both bad weather and the lack of planning and preparation these companies had to perform.

The holiday shopping season in 2013 was a record breaking one with more customers than ever shopping online with Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart to name a few. However, the shipping companies were not the only ones to blame for the disastrous holiday shipping dilemma. Many of the large online retailers were offering customers expedited shipping and/or guaranteed delivery without actually paying the additional fees to the shipping company for that service. For example, if you ordered a product online and the company promised to deliver in two days that doesn’t necessarily mean that the company paid UPS or FedEx to get the package there by those specific days. Retailers were not expecting to pack and ship the amount of orders they did nor were they expecting bad weather around the country or UPS and FedEx to not have the ability to support the large number of packages going through the system. All of these were issues that lead into packages not being delivered on time.

For the upcoming holiday shopping season in 2015 retailers and logistics companies are altering their plans for the massive amount of expected purchases. Shipped goods are expected to rise as much as 11 percent when compared to last year. So you may ask, what are they doing different from last year to support this growing industry of online shopping? More and more of the big box retailers with online and brick-and-mortar stores and also some of the smaller ones are offering more and more options to place your order online and then pick it up in store a short time later. They are also preparing to ship some orders from store locations instead of from a central warehouse, which could significantly decrease transit time.

UPS and FedEx are hiring about 10 percent more seasonal workers than last year to help process, sort and deliver packages. They are also investing enormous amount of money to more efficiently run their operations such as automated sorting.

With these adjustments in place the online stores and shipping companies are supposed to be a lot more effective at delivering packages on time than they were last year.

If you had a position of authority in one of the big box online retailers such as Amazon, Target or Wal-Mart, how would you improve operations?



Companies are wanting to automate sorting such as this


ALL Fingers Point to the Middle Man

Last spring, decided to end its venture with one of its largest third party sellers, DAB Unlimited. Amazon logs more than two million sellers, where nearly half of all of its merchandise is sold by volume through Like DAB Unlimited, third party companies use Amazon’s website, warehouses and payment systems to sell their goods over the Web, allowing the retailer to offer a much broader range of products. This type of strategy has caught on to other retailers such a Staples Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Sears Holdings Corp.

DAB Unlimited mainly offered vitamins, supplements, weight-loss pills, pet-care products and children’s toys. In 2010, DAB racked in more than $200 million in sales alone. The fast growth of companies like DAB explain how Amazon can generate mass amounts revenue or even increase their revenue by 25% like they did in 2008.

The biggest risk of this venture is that Amazon cannot control the overall customer experience. Between 2009 and 2012, Amazon received dozens of complaints from people claiming that DAB had sold them counterfeit or mislabeled items, according to internal Amazon documents filed from their bankruptcy case. But although Amazon cannot control the full customer experience, Amazon did take matters into their hand in 2011 forcing DAB to stop selling products on their sight after DAB sought bankruptcy protection.

But third party sellers like DAB shows the true risk that Amazon faces when it comes to customer service. One specific customer reported that DAB was selling fake Gillette Mach3 razor cartridges, according to the Amazon documents. However, there are less than 1% of DAB shipments that get flagged for problems.  During one instance where a customer took some diet pills and felt adverse side affects, Amazon took it upon them to investigate and sent a warning to DAB with the concerns. At this point, Amazon, based on recommendations, decided to suspend DAB’s selling privileges. Johnson & Johnson last year suspended sales of scores of consumer products and over-the-counter medications to Amazon because it said the Web retailer wasn’t doing enough to prevent third parties from selling expired or damaged J&J products.

Although the Amazon account manager pleads a blind eye to the situation, he is now willing to help improve third-party sellers in sales and in ratings.  Amazon is still currently not doing business with DAB Unlimited. However, DAB Unlimited still has its storefronts open and has been continuing to get great ratings from customers since 2006. It is still not clear if Amazon will look to do business with DAB in the future.

  1. How do you think service is when it comes to returns?
  2. Do you believe that third party sellers provide a convenience or a hassle to customers?
  3. Should look to develop a new strategy to better manage these third party sellers?

Lululemon’s Potential Competitor May Have An Advantage Due to Product Recall


Lululemon for anyone that doesn’t know, is an athletic apparel store for, men and women, mostly dedicated to yoga-wear and workout clothing, but slowly moving into the day-to-night market as well. They have been extremely successful in the workout retail division, especially for women who enjoy yoga or wearing yoga attire. Lululemon is also known for having yoga, running, weight training and other fitness classes for the public to attend.

Although Lululemon has grown into a global business from one store in 1998 in Vancouver to over 270 locations worldwide, every company has it’s period of decline. For Lululemon it was when  in March of 2013 due to their recall on leggings for being too shear, this caused a large sales reduction for them and other issues as well.

A new company called Kit and Ace has been introduced into the similar market of Lululemon. The founders of Kit and Ace are entirely backed by the founders of Lululemon due to a large issue in the Lululemon board of directors. Kit and Ace is still in its introductory stage as a business, but they plan to grow globally and appeal to the same target market as Lululemon.

I found this article to be extremely relative to what we are learning in class when it comes to quality control and operations strategy in a global environment. Dealing with quality control is definitely a topic that relates to Lululemon and their product recall. We learned the importance of implicating quality for companies because it can help or hinder a company’s reputation, which in this case the lack of quality on hundreds of thousands of leggings has definitely hindered Lululemon. It caused many customers from all over the world to lack confidence in their product and be cautious when it comes to purchasing this product. Kit and Ace is definitely going to use the quality control issue of Lululemon to help improve their own quality control and it’s possible that customers will become more loyal to them instead.

One thing that Lululemon has over Kit and Ace without a doubt is their operational strategy with expanding their company globally. Lululemon has a globally known name, it’s not just a Vancouver store, it’s grown into a well known company in all different countries. Lululemon realized how important it was for them to globalize because they saw it would improve the supply chain, reduce costs, improve operations, understand markets, improve products, and attract and retain global talent. Rather than staying a locally known store, they now have facilities closer to unique resources in different countries. They have reduced costs with lower direct and indirect costs with foreign locations. Lululemon’s competitive advantage is definitely differentiation because they chose to use unique material to create their products which have attracted customers who are into not only fitness but comfortable everyday wear as well. Kit and ace will need to work on global expansion by using the experienced and professional operational strategy of Lululemon.


Have you ever had anything recalled that you’ve owned? If so, did that recall cause you to think differently about the company?

How important is quality control to a company?

Could there be a competition between Lululemon and Kit and Ace now with customers cautious about Lululemon products?

Tinder: Love at First Swipe


In class, the topic of new product opportunities was discussed.  Of these opportunities included (1)  understanding the consumer and (2) technological change.  In 2014, a company known as InterActivCorp (IAC) took advantage of these opportunities to learn about consumers, their wants, and the modern use of technology.  As a result, a different form of social networking was born to success–Tinder.

The process of matchmaking through the Tinder app is simple and to the point.  The user connects their Facebook account with the app. Next, you input your matchmaking preferences.  Then, a profile picture of individuals in the area who match your preferences will show up on screen.  By swiping the picture to the left represents there is no interest.  By swiping the picture to the right, indicates some interest or attraction you are willing to explore.  If that specific individual also swipes your picture to the right, a match is made.  This unlocks the ability to chat with one another and take that next step into the relationship.

InterActivCorp took the opportunity to understand their customers and cater to their needs.  By targeting a younger audience, unlike other famous dating sites, a simple and modernized form of matchmaking has grabbed the attention of many.  Some of these factors that attribute to Tinder’s success include:

  • Simplicity:  The app is strait forward and easy to use.
  • Efficiency:  Countless possible matches can be scanned in seconds.
  • Security:  With the ability to synchronize with Facebook, it becomes harder for others to lie about who they are.
  • Assurance:  The concept of not being able to chat unless there is a mutual interest for each other provides more confidence in the process.
  • Accessibility:  In the form of a mobile app, everything is held at the palm of your hand.
  • Ability to Encounter:  Only individuals who are in your selected vicinity will show up as possible matches.

These are not the only factors that attribute to Tinder’s popularity, however.  In much simpler terms–it’s fun.  The entire operation is like a game.  There is mystery and excitement.  Not only that, but many of the photos that show up on screen may show to have mutual friends.   The awareness of common connections already creates an idea of possible shared interests.  By including those living in surrounded areas creates more of a reality.  Knowing you can meet up and attend dates without worrying about long distance, holds more promise in the relationship.

In these ways, Tinder has triumphed with the help of an audience holding common goals–to mingle and meet great company.  With such attributes and such deep understanding of customer wants, this app has prospered greatly in the past two years.  Personally, I believe that the creators of Tinder took an opportunity at hand and created something original of an already known idea.  Building upon the concept of social networking and online dating, this new form of interaction has impacted many.  What do you believe makes Tinder so appealing to its users?  Will Tinder’s success last in today’s world, or will another new product opportunity take over its fame?


Tis the season

When owning a business how do you estimate what your sales for the future will likely be? Forecasting is one of the most important things in any business today. One of the largest industries is the packing and mailing industry. The major holiday seasons are approaching and companies such as FedEx, UPS are getting ready for the holiday season where they receive tremendous amounts of packages because of online shopping.
According to, “UPS is hiring as many as 95,000 seasonal workers along with FedEx taking on an additional 50,000 workers.”  Last year UPS ran into some problems costing these companies large amount of money. Many of these problem could have been prevented if these shipping companies would have been prepared for the large amount of business they were going to receive over the holidays. Shipping companies always expect their “peak” seasons to be crucial when it comes to delivery because most people pay for rush shipping.

This year these companies are being proactive in getting ready for the upcoming busy season. This year UPS is trying to convince retailers to get rid of all free overnight-shipping offers on December 23. They hope that this will cut down on some of the overwhelming workloads they dealt with last year. Many last minute shoppers will have to be practical this year if they want their items delivered on time. Retailers this season are working with these packaging companies to give them updates on how large they are expecting shipments from there stores to be. According to Macy’s is offering an in store pick up option this year to help provide the FedEx and UPS with one stop instead of having to go to each individual home. FedEx and UPS have also been meeting with large retailers in hopes of them promoting special deals for customers who order earlier on in the holiday season.

Another strategy these companies work on is the process strategies. How can UPS and FedEx provide a service that meets or exceeds the customer’s expatiations? Having your Christmas items delivered on time is very important to customers. Many parents do these delivery methods because most families, both parents work and they rely on shipping companies to make Christmas happen. Imagine your child or loved ones not receiving their gifts because of some error in transit? While trying to keep all customers happy, these companies have to keep in mind the cost and goals for the company. Efficiency and professionalism go hand in hand When these major companies are keeping cost in mind. Also, they want to make sure all drivers are taking the most efficient routes while still meeting delivery dates during this busy time. During the busy season these companies have to keep in mind quality, making sure all of the items that are supposed to be delivered are in good condition and not broken or damaged from being in the truck. This also goes back to how efficient the trucks are packaged you have to make sure that everything is packed safety and efficient so the drivers can easily get to the packages when at each stop. Loaders (package handlers) usually get around 1,500-2,500 packages that need to be loaded into their designated trucks. On average, handlers have about three to four trucks at most and are required to package their trucks in about four to five hours. As long as everyone works together, everyone can be happy around the holiday seasons.

From Gold to Green: Oops!



Do you have the Starbucks app on your smart phone? I finally downloaded it to my phone just last week after having stopped at a Starbucks with a friend who had it. She was getting her free drink due to her Gold Card and I got intrigued to learn more about it. As many other big companies, Starbucks launched its loyalty card early in 2009. The idea behind creating a brand loyalty culture in a company is immensely valuable, as it guarantees customer loyalty and simultaneously gathers data of consumers, at the small cost of rewarding consumers with small gifts.

In Forbes, Roger Dooley case studies Starbucks’ loyalty program and finds a misfire. Dooley talks about Starbucks’ magnificent marketing techniques and their great job in cultivating a brand loyalty culture. He says “Like the airline loyalty programs it resembles, the Starbucks Gold Card program has to deal with customers whose consumption habits change… if you must cut benefits, you’d like to do it in the most sensitive way possible”. It is not the way Starbucks has gone about creating, managing and marketing their Gold Card program, it is the way they have removed benefits from less frequent customers that could be revisited.

As of now, when a customer frequents their coffee shops they accumulate points and get rewards in relation to their purchases. It only takes 30 stars to become a Gold Card member and to maintain that status, you must consume 30 stars on a yearly basis. If for instance, you open a card and for the first year accumulated 30 or more stars, you automatically become a Gold Card member. If the second year comes around and you fall short of the 30 new stars you were to achieve, Starbucks sends you an email informing you, in a rather cold way, you have been “demoted”.

Even though it is relatively easy to get your status back, this same email will continue informing you that “you’re back to Green for now, and your Star count has been reset”. Therefore, you fall down in level and zero out in points, it is a lose-lose situation for the brand loyal customer. It is interesting to see who even though this app sounds like a great way to incentive clients to visit their Starbucks coffee shop, it also seems like a one-way street. I say this because it seems that as long as you are loyal to Starbucks, Starbucks will be loyal to you. Because the moment you do not accumulate the 30 stars Starbucks requires to be in the Gold Card, it is as if you have never been a loyal customer and you start all over again with a Green card and zero stars.


Do you think it is right for Starbucks to simply zero out your account? What suggestions would you give to loyal customers who may feel frustrated? Do you have a Starbucks app? Are you a Gold Card member? What is your opinion?

Is quality really key?


I consider myself a bargain shopper, especially when it comes to apparel. Why pay full price when you can just wait for the products to go on sale? Although, there are several other ways that can help you save money. You can sign up for a store’s cashback program, use online or in-store coupons, or even shop for defective products. Now some may be skeptical about purchasing defective products, but in reality you shouldn’t have to worry too much in regards to apparel, unless you are very picky. There are many situations where I would rather purchase a slightly defective item to save a big chunk of change.

As manufacturers produce hundreds and thousands of items, some are bound not to come out perfect. Quality control weaves these defective products from the approved products. From excess glue on a shoe to incorrect stitching on a garment, there are plenty of small details that can be irregular. Now these items don’t necessarily present a hazard to customers, but major retailers such as Nike cannot be seen selling sub-par products in major retailers. That is why they offer these “irregular” or “b-grade” products. You can find a few of them slip past to major retailers, but you mainly find these types of products in outlet stores. Now this scenario would be different in the auto industry, where defective components or products would not be allowed to be sold because of the dangers they may cause.

I bet that many of us have been to and/or shopped at an outlet mall and have seen how much cheaper apparel is compared to full price retailers. “Defective” products that I purchase from outlets (mainly sneakers and sports apparel) usually tend to be just as fine in my opinion. Things are meant to be worn and I believe little nicks do not really affect the overall look/performance of the particular product.


Do you guys think these defective/irregular products are worth purchasing in the long run?

Do you think quality control might be too strict when it comes to products like apparel (that do not pose danger)?


Taco Bell “Suping Up” Burritos


As of today, October 28th, Taco Bell has launched a mobile app allowing people to order their burritos ahead after determining which location one would be ordering from.  With this new technology and the addition of thousands of new restaurants across the nation, the company has set a ten year forecast of doubling their revenue to $14 billion dollars.

This mobile app offers many new perks for both the customers and restaurants of the Taco Bell chain.  First, the mobile app offers an easier way for customers to quickly and conveniently get their food.  The accessibility this offers customers will pull people in during their on-the-go lifestyle.

The more clever way in which this app generates revenue for the company is the ability to further customize your food, in turn generating a higher check average as the add-ons will tack on extra money with every additional garnish.  The company spoke about the idea of “digital-upsell” in the Bloomberg Business Week, recognizing this trend in other fast food and delivery hubs.


Taco Bell stated that “almost 70% of their orders are some what customized regardless as many people have some kind of special request with their order.  The company has found a way to make money off of these special requests by adding additional charges to the extra toppings that would not be seen by just ordering at the store.

With every good idea, there are always some faults to be dealt with.  The promise of a walk-in and walk-out with your food will bring in customers, but could also cause customers to become angry if their food is cold or not finished yet.  The store is attempting to combat this problem by using a button that customers can press to alert the store they have arrived.  If a customer is lazy or forgets to press this button, the whole ability of ordering online may be negated and useless.

Another issue that I found to possibly arise is a great amount of people who order food and do not show up to get it.  If the store makes all of these orders and never sees the customer or gets paid for them after they have already prepared the order could result in a great loss in product.

Taco Bell is taking a huge risk with their new mobile app program.  Risks are the only way to take a step forward, and even if it doesn’t go the way it was forecast to go, the potential that could have been would be worth the try.  I am very interested to see how this mobile app will go for the company and will surely try it out myself to see what I personally think about its functional accessibility.




Whats more exclusive then 6 hand made Ferraris?

The only way to manufacture a more exclusive product then six handmade Ferrari’s is by making the purchase of each car invitation only.


In the past week of class we learned about the different manufacturing processes used to make products.  Between process focus, repetitive focus, product focus and mass customization we learned the pros and cons of each set up. What we are looking at here is a highly specialized and customizable version of process focus manufacturing. Ferrari, as we all know, likes to operate in a process focus environment targeting most affluent consumers on the market. Ferrari is tied to high price high quality products, just like the Rolex example in class.  All of us assume a Ferrari is among the highest quality product on the market, even when placed side by side with many of its supercar counterparts.


Ferrari, with the six new Sergio cars, took product focus to the extreme. They traded in on their name to entice potential customers to pay upwards of a million dollars for the new line cars.  Instead of worrying about forecasting or any type of market research, Ferrari built a car with the intention they would sell effortlessly.  The result in an invitation-only model has clearly paid off for Ferrari, as all six Sergio’s have already been sold. While the identities of the new owners are kept confidential, we are told the invitations were given to previous loyal Ferrari owners.


With this heavy process focus comes the ability for massive customization options.  Along with the usual online customizations that can be implemented into manufacturing, such as colors and finishes, the team went above and beyond to meet consumer satisfactions. After the purchase of a new Sergio, a life size clay model of the car is created so buyers know exactly what they are getting.


I personally think this is a great way to manufacture a car for optimal appeal.  The ultra-rich pride themselves on the exclusivity of the items they own. Ferrari took a shortcut to creating a uniquely exclusive product with a one of a kind manufacturing and sales model.  Being this highly process focused I cannot see anyone who bought this car having even the slightest bit of buyers remorse.  I also think that creating a clay model of the car to aid the customer’s options in the customization process is ingenious.  Many times when customizing a product online some parts do not come out exactly as intended.  Unfortunately color and sizing mishaps can happen due to computer monitor resolutions or bugs with rendering software.  Ferrari found an exact way to replicate the final product allowing so that every little customer specific nuance is included in their one of a kind Sergio.

What do think of having this low of a production run?
How to do you think the clay models influenced sale?
Ferrari Sergio