TaylorMade Upgrade HQ

    TaylorMade Golf have been busy transforming its back-office operations at the company’s Basingstoke head office introducing a whole host of new initiatives to better service the brand’s retail partners.  As part of this transformation TaylorMade has invested heavily to redesign its custom club production process and upgrade the customer facing Brand Centre.

    The Custom Build Lab has been completely overhauled and re-engineered with state-of-the-art technology and efficient processes to ensure best in class build quality and capacity for the continued rapid growth in the company’s custom business.

    The new Brand Centre now offers the customer a fully immersive TaylorMade experience which includes a contemporary marketing suite, simple and modern, with a large wall-sized cinema screen and a fully stocked ‘mock’ TaylorMade Pro Shop to showcase to retail partners how the entire product line can be presented at the point of sale. Every area of the product range has a focus, with displays from the hardware, balls and bag, down to modern displays of headwear and luggage. As a retailer, if you come in and don’t take back some merchandising ideas, you’ve missed a trick.

    As fantastic as the Brand Centre is, the Custom Lab is the real highlight. TaylorMade has invested huge amounts to improve their custom order service. Rebuilding the custom workshop production line from scratch, Custom Lab is the correct term. Looking more like a high-end custom fit workshop than an industrial production line that with their advanced Bullseye digital loft and lie machines, numerous flatscreens spewing out information, and a highly trained team of people making the custom build process hiccup-free, the Custom Lab has revolutionised productivity for TaylorMade.

    Jesse Otis Operations Director at TaylorMade took us through some of the changes that had
    been made.

    “We put a lot of work in last year to make 2019 run much smoother than 2018. We have added a new warehouse for our soft goods, that has already shipped 186,000 deliveries. We secured the budget for the new Custom Lab which has now been installed and we’ve built the new Brand Centre. In total, we’ve invested over £1million on the new warehouse, the new Custom Lab plus all the equipment that needed, the new Brand Centre, and a new MRP tool that helps us build better forecasts so we can have more product available when it’s needed.

    “We’re in a position from a production capacity point of view where we are ready for a 50% growth, we won’t be caught off guard like we were last year. Everything is in place to make it easy to do business with TaylorMade this year. For example, shipping products to retailers at the beginning of launch week, so that there wouldn’t have a last-minute dash to get the products on display.

    “The new Custom Lab has massively increased our productivity. We’ve gone from making four clubs per labour hour to nine clubs per labour hour which is a huge improvement. And our lead time on a custom set of clubs is just four days.

    “We shipped 12,000 orders in January. We had 16 errors. That’s nearly a 99.9% success rate. And we know exactly what they were and how they happened because we can track back through the entire system. And January is our busiest month of the year.”

    We spoke to Paul McGinley at the opening of the new TaylorMade Brand Centre about his time with the company and his thoughts on their new facilities.

    You’ve been with TaylorMade for a long time, what does the brand mean to you?

    When I went out to college in San Diego in 1989, I was 22 years old, 2 handicapper. I wasn’t close to being a professional golfer. My coach Gordon Severson had previously worked at TaylorMade with founder Gary Adams. One of the very first things he did was take me to TaylorMade to get fit for new equipment, TaylorMade were part of the journey that helped me get to where I am today. I met Gary in his office that day and he told me his goal was for TaylorMade to be used by the best players in the world. And when you look at the world top 10, they achieved that and
    then some.

    I have a lot of emotional ties to the company, I have a lot of friends in San Diego and Carlsbad, and there are still people at the company who were there back in 1989 when I first got involved. It’s great to still see the old faces. TaylorMade’s head office back then was no more than four times the size of this room. It was tiny. And it has become this fantastic industry giant.

    What did you think of the new facilities they have unveiled?

    My favourite part of the day was seeing the new production line, how efficient it has become. Seeing the attention to detail, there’s some serious cutting-edge technology. The Bullseye loft and lie machine is like nothing I’ve ever seen before! It’s much more advanced than the tour truck. And the new Brand Centre is a perfect representation of what TaylorMade should look like to a consumer.

    We all swing the club differently which makes custom fitting so essential. If you ever listen to Nicklaus talk about golf, he talks about owning your own game. Once you have properly fitted equipment, you can just go and compete without worrying about the clubs. With this new production line at TaylorMade, you can now get a perfectly bespoke set of golf clubs like we’ve been getting on tour for the last 25 years. It brings a whole new dimension to the enjoyment of your customers’ golf.

    How excited are you for the future of TaylorMade after what you have seen today?

    Competition is tougher than it has ever been. But when you buy a TaylorMade product, you know that it is at the cutting edge of technology. The people at the top of the company now still buy into that same vision Gary Adams had back in the beginning. As long as that’s in place, TaylorMade will always be at the forefront of making the best equipment for the golfer.

    It’s hard not to be impressed with what they have done here. TaylorMade have moved with the times and 80% of the iron orders are custom built now, that’s amazing. All the investment they’ve made on the new facilities is a real asset to their retailers.

    TaylorMade is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, what has been your favourite TaylorMade club over the years?

    My first was a Pittsburgh Persimmon an American friend brought back for me around 1987. My favourite has to be the Rossa putter I holed the winning Ryder Cup putt with at The Belfry. And I don’t know where it is! Mark Roe is a collector of historic golf memorabilia and asked what I had done with the putter as I had stopped using it. He told me it was worth a lot of money, because of the history, and that it needed preserving. I thought if I keep it at home, I’m going to lose it, I’d end up giving it away, forgetting which putter it was. So, I thought, I know, I’ll send it to Mark King, so they can put it the museum at The Kingdom over in Carlsbad. But it never got there. I don’t know where it is now. Maybe a postman somewhere made good use of it!

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    As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.