The 50,000 mile Wimbledon tennis ball
“It is one of the longest journeys I have seen for a product. On the face of it, travelling more than 50,000 miles to make a tennis ball does seem fairly ludicrous, but it just shows the global nature of production these days, and in the end, this will be the most cost-effective way of making tennis balls.
“Slazenger are locating production near the primary source of their materials, which if you look at most current supply chains today, is not the case.
“Before the financial crash when logistics costs were really high a lot of firms did this, but now it is not so common. But the tennis ball provides Slazenger with the perfect synchronisation of materials produced at a very low cost near to the manufacturing labour in the Philippines, which is also at very low cost.”
“Slazenger shut down the factory in Barnsley in the early 2000s and moved the equipment to Bataan in the Philippines. They still get the felt from Stroud, as it requires a bit more technical expertise. Shipping wool from New Zealand to Stroud and then sending the felt back to the Philippines adds a lot of miles, but they obviously want to use the best wool for the Wimbledon balls.
Original article published by the Warwick Business School on 29th June 2015. This article also featured in the Guardian, New Zealand Herald, The New York Times and ITV News.“Apart from that part, they have managed to keep the supply chain relatively short, and centred round the Philippines.”
Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You
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