At first blush, Boyd Rogers isn’t whom one might expect to find occupying the top technology executive position at a $5.21 billion company.
“I’m not a systems guy at all,” he said in a phone interview. “I can’t program a VCR.”
Still, since he was named VF’s vice president of global supply chain and technology in February, he’s been the Greensboro, N.C.-based firm’s top dog on the tech front. His background is in keeping with VF’s broader approach of ensuring that its technological processes serve the business, rather than vice versa.
One of his key responsibilities is making sure VF’s five divisions, which the company calls “coalitions,” and more than 30 brands can communicate efficiently with one another, using standardized systems to manage everything from payroll to tracking production of the 500 million items the company buys each year from approximately 1,000 contract and company-owned factories, then ships to 47,000 retailers.
His staff is charged with assimilating the systems of new brands into the VF fold — no small feat at a company that’s made eight major acquisitions since the turn of the century.
Rogers is also one of the key players tasked with meeting VF’s goal of trimming $100 million from its operating costs over the next five years, a target chairman and chief executive Mackey McDonald unveiled at an analysts conference in New York last month.
“We are targeting $100 million in cost reduction, much of which will be used as a fuel to put behind our growth initiatives,” McDonald said, according to a transcript of the event. “This also has very specific projects….We have teams of people across VF that are working on these, in the areas of direct materials, indirect materials, product procurement, distribution, inventory management, our whole information technology and information systems infrastructure.”
VF’s standardized systems will help meet the challenge by enabling the company to cut costs across brands by pooling orders for fabric and components. “We have a cross-coalition direct material group,” Rogers was quoted as saying in the transcript. “We buy something like $50 million worth of zippers collectively, so we can get a pretty good deal when we offer it up as $50 million as opposed to 10 guys going out with $5 million.”
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