Sporting items business battles ‘fairly dramatic’ provide chain constraints


Chris Considine, CEO of True Temper Sports, describes how True Temper Sports struggled through the pandemic and pressure in the supply chain to keep its business growing.

Video transcript


All right, sports fans, needless to say, despite COVID-19, many people have been able to practice sports they love, such as golf. And for those who play lacrosse – I know Seana played lacrosse – that was something people could do too. It was outside.

But let’s talk more about what’s happening to Chris Considine, CEO of True Temper Sports. Nice that you are here. And I wanted to ask you – that’s a bit off-topic, but it’s a big red flag of concern for me – you’re talking about those container ships off the California coast that can’t be unloaded yet. And I wonder if that will affect the products you use for golf or the clubs and the different types of shafts you use in your clubs when we have a slowdown that could affect Christmas ?

CHRIS LOOKS AT: That was definitely a problem for us to be honest. The challenges in the supply chain have been quite dramatic. We had some of the containers when they hit the Chicago train stations, which are near our distribution center. It took us six weeks in some cases to unload some of the new ice skates and hockey sticks. So lately it’s gotten a little better. But in the last few months it has been quite a challenge to be honest

Chris, how do you cope with this challenge? Are you changing, I think, your strategy for the future where you see opportunities for some of your suppliers I suppose? What are you doing to address some of these issues?

CHRIS LOOKS AT: You know, in some cases we definitely try to stockpile raw materials when we can and try to be one step ahead on our orders. And then it’s honestly persistence to try to work very persistently with all the important people we have in our supply chain and do our best and just try to stay on the ball as best we can.

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I’m curious because I said Christmas, I mean the shopping season is literally two months from that moment. But you have some new partnerships that you recently launched into the team sports business. How does it look for you?

CHRIS LOOKS AT: We are extremely optimistic about ourselves in the team sports business. We play hockey, baseball and lacrosse. Our hockey business is completely honest, it burns.

We are up 30% in this business. We’re the fastest growing hockey brand in the world. And we feel really good about our range of products. What we have for the fourth quarter and for the next year is just excellent.

In the baseball segment, we’ve just launched our BBCOR baseball bats called HZRDUS, which put us in the game. It was very well received. Very big hit on social media and with the younger players

And from a lacrosse perspective, our lacrosse business has grown 70% to date compared to a decent year last year. So, since we have shifted into the team sport arena, we are doing it with a serious effort and making better technology in our products and making sure we find out what those little things these athletes are looking for. And we go through the meticulous process of all play testing. And it’s these little things that make a big difference to these athletes.

And from our point of view, the world doesn’t need another baseball bat or hockey stick. We have to bring something new into play technically. And it’s a little bit of art and science. And we also try to bring art into play. And we are fortunate to have some real experts in the categories in these areas.

And it’s very interesting to me. How often in your life do you have the chance to work on something with the best in the world? And we have several people on our team who are among the best in the world. When it comes to hockey equipment and hockey goalkeeping gear, Pat Lefevre is the best in the world at what he does. He is recognized by the best goalkeepers in the world. You honestly have him on the speed dial.

And we have Scott Van Horne, who is the man who invented custom hockey skates. Once again he is known throughout the hockey industry. And is really a craftsman, if you will, and a real craftsman.

And from a baseball bat perspective, we’ve secured a member of our team who owns over 40 patents in the baseball bat category. So we have these people who are the best in the world at what they do. And so we bring something new to the team sports arena.

And we appreciate you bringing this to us. Chris Considine, CEO of True Temper Sports, all the best to you and your team, it’s never too early to bring your Christmas shopping. And today would be the day for it.