CASE STUDY #1: NEW BALANCE
Introduction New Balance was founded by William J. Riley in 1906 in the city of Boston. Riley started by making arch supports for customers who had to spend all day on their feet. Over time the building of arch supports led to the creation of his first running shoe in 1925. As part of a local running club, Riley capitalized on an opportunity to improve running shoes of the time and his designs became widely popular. His new running shoes became so popular that by the 1940’s that production spread from running to many other sports. Then the expansion of the manufacturing significantly increased as he realized a need to running shoes with more selection for wider feet, and
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The flagship of community support provided by New Balance is through its New Balance Foundation. The New Balance Foundation is committed to building healthier and stronger communities – with considerable focus on helping to prevent childhood obesity (NewBalance.com, 2013). Annual grants from the foundation in 1981 were approximately $30,000 and have grown to over $6.4 million in 2011. New Balance commits to, “a holistic approach that includes medical, academic and grassroots nonprofit partnerships and work with partners who engage kids and their families through exercise and play as well as nutrition (NewBalance.com, 2013)”. Another challenge facing New Balance, has been the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) campaigns taking a direct aim at athletic shoe manufacturing, with initial issues such as codes of conduct and improvements with supplier monitoring (Veleva, 2010). In recent years, the focus has shifted to, “maximum work hours, health and safety in overseas factories, use of temporary workers, transparency, responsible purchasing practices and ‘exit strategies’ when closing factories overseas (Veleva, 2010)”. New Balance has to contend with these direct transparency issues and incorporate policies to take into account different cultural differences; such as, some Asian workers prefer to work longer hours in order to earn enough to return to their families sooner (Veleva, 2010).
The review of New