Our goal is to provide the best value, highest quality and safest uniform to our Scouting families. Boy Scouts of America's National Supply Group diligently seeks manufacturers in the United States and abroad.
In our selection process for manufacturers, we review both U.S. and international companies because in recent years, the apparel industry has moved production almost entirely offshore. BSA had been doing uniform business with one factory in Puerto Rico that subsequently went out of business, forcing us to seek production overseas. We have now partnered with some of the finest factories in the world.
Shifting to a global sourcing strategy has many benefits. It affords us the opportunity to find superior technology, better fabrications, and great quality at advantageous pricing.
This move has allowed us to not raise the price of basic uniform pants and shirts in the past five years. Uniform pricing is one of the most frequent concerns we hear about from our members (Scout Shop customers) and we are very conscious of the cost to families who want to outfit their sons properly.
Enter any store in America today, and it's readily apparent that we live in a global marketplace.
Q1. Why did you source uniforms off shore?
A1. As stated above, domestic suppliers of apparel are almost nonexistent. U.S vendors have also moved their production to other countries. They may have US representatives, but they are also partnering with offshore factories. BSA moved to global sourcing to get superior quality, the latest technology and advantageous pricing.
Q2. Who was your domestic clothing supplier? Where are they? What is their reaction?
A2. Our primary supplier moved production of (manufactured) uniforms to Puerto Rico as a cost-cutting measure, yet still had to shut their doors. BSA has partnered with a group of great factories in Bangladesh and China that are also working with key retailers. These factories have proven to not only meet all required compliances, but are proud to partner with the BSA.
Q3. Have US companies moved their production because they cannot compete, and cannot get people to work as cheaply as in Asia or Central America?
A3. It's not just the cost of labor, but it's also modern manufacturing equipment that provides economy. To be blunt, global sourcing allows our uniforms to be made with the latest technology, achieving higher quality while controlling costs. In addition, these manufacturing facilities are also very concerned about the environment and have some of the most advanced effluent treatment plants in the world. BSA is proud to partner with these mills and factories in water treatment and protecting our environment.
It is important to note that 33% of BSA's total global business is done through U.S. based importers. Major companies who have been doing business with BSA, and due to ever changing manufacturing needs have also moved much of their business off shore. For example, one of our leading emblem manufacturers has been doing business with BSA for 90 years, and currently produces 98% of their emblems in China vs. 2% in the U.S. Another 12 year BSA emblem sourcing partner has moved 90% of their production into China; with 7% being produced in Mexico, and the remaining 3% in the U.S. due to global manufacturing shifts.
Q4. Will the price of Scout uniforms go down as a result of this shift?
A4. We had not increased the price of Scout uniforms for five years, absorbing the rising costs in our operation. We feel our uniforms are very competitively and fairly priced. We are charging slightly more for the highly technical product such as our new Micro Polyester Uniform. With a focused factory base we are able to maintain costs and offer superior product. We are meaningful to the factory, and BSA is meaningful to their business.
Q5. Will the quality of uniforms be compromised?
A5. In addition to successfully maintaining our pricing, the quality of the uniforms has improved with more features and benefits than ever before. State-of-the-art equipment used in our global factories will produce merchandise with the highest quality offered anywhere in the market. Our strategy is to research and develop the best, most cost-effective product for our Scouts. We demand that BSA product be nothing less than the most compelling in the market.