"Disability is ability"
Interview with Paralympic Champion and World Record Holder Salum Kashafali
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the production of special Greuther Fürth jerseys difficult, as production facilities in southern Vietnam were closed. This gave our Sourcing & Production team a challenging task. We asked team members Christiane Hoegg (Senior Head of Development Apparel), Marco Mueller (Senior Head of Production Line Management), Philipp Heidinger (Junior Product Line Manager Teamsport) and Cornelius Wolf (Senior Teamhead Development Apparel) how they mastered this situation.
Why was the special edition jersey launched right now?
Philipp: It was quite surprising that the club was promoted to the top league (Bundesliga). It’s a small club, but with a lot of tradition. They deserved a special jersey. The timing was good because of the Friday evening game in Fürth against FC Bayern Munich and the club’s birthday. This year, they are celebrating their 118th anniversary.
How was the process from design to production and delivery?
Philipp: We sat down with the club for the design. Upfront we had prepared two concepts. We designed the entire jersey in a very short period of time. This was achieved through really good communication with our design team and the club. So that step went really well.
Usually, the production of the jerseys takes place in Turkey, but that would have been tricky to realize in August. In order to be faster, we had the idea to relocate the production to Vietnam. Unfortunately, we didn’t know at the time that the pandemic would hit Vietnam hard again. Another lockdown made the production very difficult.
Christiane: The entire team in Vietnam was suddenly at home in lockdown. Nevertheless, with the limited capacities we managed to enable the production of the special jerseys.
Cornelius: Exactly. Usually we have more than 3000 workers in the factory. At the beginning, we were confident that we would be able to produce in the short time even under restrictions. But then there was a lockdown. We received the information that the entire factory was closed. So now what? This is where our close partnership with the manufacturer paid off. We found a solution and were allowed to produce with very little capacity. I really want to thank the whole team in Vietnam, such as Chang Ho (PGS Apparel Development Teamsport & Motorsport, Vietnam), Edward Dung (Branch Manager) and Ruby Pham (Production) as well as Sarunya Lib and her entire merchandise team, for making this possible.
Also, the printing part was a challenge, but with a fast and smooth communication with PUMA SE and some magic tweaks in the final steps of logistics, especially by Thomas Gentzsch, we made it work in time for the game.
Sounds like teamwork made the dream work?
Marco: Yes. This jersey is a perfect example of us being stronger together. For our business unit, teamsport means teamwork.
Philipp: Yes. During the whole process, we also spoke very transparently with the club and updated them regularly. They were great and a pleasure to work with.
Christiane: We had already picked out alternative launch dates, just in case. I am very glad that we made it on time in the end and the jersey looks great. I see one of the keys to success in our quick communication and the close, transparent exchange within the team and between the individual departments and business units.
Cornelius: It was also great to see that the trust paid off. For example, we trusted the manufacturer with the colors. There were fewer voting rounds, which saved time. This is a good example and blueprint for the future.