Founded in Germany in 1948, Adidas is a global company that specializes in sporting products. The company’s objectives entail emerging as the top universal sports brand by becoming the leader in the sports industry in the production of top-quality products. Adidas also seeks to aid athletes to achieve the best performance by manufacturing products suitable to their needs.
Adidas began manufacturing match balls in 1963 when most balls were heavy. Its premier model was presented as “Santiago,” and it has since been sequenced by incredible successors that have been employed regularly in matches worldwide since 1968 in critical international football games. From 1970 to date, Adidas balls have registered their mark in world cup history. The official Adidas ball in a world cup, the football game was for the first time provided in Mexico’s 1970 world cup and the one hosted in Germany in1974. The Telstar, an Adidas ball, was the first with black pentagons. It quickly became the incarnation of the modern day’s game (Adidas, 2013).
The Tango Adidas ball was a successful model, which was presented in the Olympic and the 1978 world cup, as well as the European Cup. It had 32 sections with no beginning or end. Even its experts could not indicate the last or first stitch on the ball. Adidas later presented the Tango Espana ball for the 1982 world cup in Spain. This ball was made of real leather. The Tango Adidas ball stemmed from a collection of balls that had various specialties. This wide range of Adidas balls was presented not only in the traditional white color but also in yellow and orange (Adidas, 2013).
A completely new Adidas ball was presented for the 1986 Mexico world cup. This ball, which was christened the Azteca Mexico, was hand sewn and for the first time in the history of Adidas balls, synthetic material was employed in its manufacture instead of leather. This impeccable Adidas ball consisted of three lower layers and an external polyurethane wearing coat that complemented each other with their distinct Adicron structures. The intention of these structures was to guarantee the ball’s resistance as far as the retention of its waterproof properties and shape was concerned. The Azteca Acapulco and the Azteca Puebla Adidas balls were also part of the Azteca family (Adidas, 2013).
The Adidas ball that was presented in the 1990 world cup was the Etrusco Unico. It was produced from quality synthetic fibers. Its lowest covering was made up of textiles that were infused with latex which ensured resistance to tearing and stability. Its outer skin, which was made up of polyurethane layers, guaranteed optimum rebound properties and resistance to abrasion. The Etrusco Unico was assembled from 32 distinct sections (Adidas, 2013).
The Adidas ball presented at the 1994 world cup was christened the Questra. Its development and presentation were in France’s Adidas center for ball development. It was closely followed by test games in the USA and Germany with youth teams, professional games, as well as armatures. The presentation name infused the 1994 world cup theme “the quest for the stars and innovation” The ball was produced from five diverse materials with a supple but resilient outer layer that stemmed from polyurethane (Adidas, 2013).
The ball that was presented by Adidas in the 1998 world cup in France characterized a robust hi-tech foam covering. Syntactic foam, the material that made the ball’s layers, had more refined rebound characteristics and better compression. This made the ball, which was christened Tricolore, faster and softer than Questra, its predecessor. The pioneer world cup colored ball was a revolutionary concept in Adidas ball designs. Suitably, the ball was named after France’s revolutionary colors.
In 2002, Adidas presented the most accurate ball christened Fevernova thus setting new standards in football. The augmented syntactic foam layer which was made up of extremely durable and highly compressible gas filled micro balloons, consisted of extra cushioning for accuracy and improved control as well as remarkable energy return properties. The Fevernova’s augmented three-dimensional performance stems from its three layers knitted chassis that permit a more predictable and accurate flight path. Broad tests in the Adidas labs with robots have proven the exceptional Fevernova accuracies (Adidas, 2013).
The political factors likely to affect Adidas balls include incidences of political instability in regions where it operates businesses, for instance, the Chinese riots. The current riots over labor costs and higher wages is a major political concern for Adidas balls since China is key sourcing market for the ball. This might compel the company to relocate its ball production units to countries with high political stability (Activist Post, 2013).
The current economic slowdown in Europe is a major economic factor likely to affect the sales of Adidas balls. The economic slowdown accounts for a constricted market for Adidas. More to this, a rise in tariffs on the ball in countries such as the US is equally an economic factor likely to impact on the company (Deloitte, 2004).
A notable social factor that may affect Adidas balls include the continued globalization that makes it possible for people in different regions to access information on the brand. Globalization has an impact on global fashion trends, including tastes for balls. Furthermore, global tourism equally has an impact on the exposure to such brands as Adidas balls (Deloitte, 2004).
Major technological factors likely to affect Adidas’ balls include the rapid innovation that characterizes the balls industry. The company is required to be innovative enough in order to remain competitive in the global market. A major concern for the company on technological factors may include the need for the production of recyclable balls (Deloitte, 2004).
One of the major strengths for Adidas balls is its incorporation as a public company. Such incorporation is important for the expansion of the company’s capital base which will ensure more production of balls. With the ability to secure more funds from the shareholders, the company has access to enough financial resources that are essential in funding innovation through research and development on the quality of its balls (Deloitte, 2004).
The weakness facing the company includes high prices for its balls. This is true because the company seeks to remain innovative in its production technology. However, the prices for its balls are relatively high, which works against its market domination. Equally, stiff competition from such major brands as Nike provides customers with alternative balls.
Opportunities for the company include the rising popularity of sports across the globe. Sports such as football and American football are becoming quite popular, with new teams emerging. These new teams present a viable market for Adidas balls.
Major threats facing the company include rival companies producing similar products at lower prices. Another threat is the rise of counterfeits, which are likely to limit its market share and harm its brand name.
The supply chain adopted by Adidas is effective in the realization of the company’s objectives. This supply chain entails the production of the company’s balls in different regional factories, transportation of the balls to the regional warehouses, then transportation to transshipment points. The final stage involves the shipment of the balls to the wholesalers and retailers for distribution to consumers (Deloitte, 2004).
Figure 1: Illustration of Adidas Balls Supply Chain
Several consumer requirements prompt Adidas to develop innovative strategies to satisfy them. One of such requirements includes safety, where consumers expect balls that are safe to use and devoid of any health hazards. In regard to safety, such balls should be stable enough to avoid accident cases. The balls should not be associated with chemicals or fabrics harmful to human health (Deloitte, 2004).
Supply management by Adidas for Adidas balls is carried out at different levels; that is, through the direct sourcing model, indirect sourcing model, and local market production. In direct sourcing, Adidas has established direct contractual relationships with various main suppliers. Theses suppliers include TaylorMade, which manufactures golf balls and Reebok, which manufactures soccer balls. On the other hand, indirect sourcing entails sourcing from agents or accessing products under license (Deloitte, 2004).
Adidas can enhance its global market domination through contractual relationships with major brands as their suppliers. One such brand is Wilson Sporting Goods Company: it is a suitable supplier because of its superior brand name in various types of balls. The company manufactures such types of balls like baseball, softball, basketball, golf, soccer, football, volleyball, and tennis balls. Sourcing from Wilson Sporting Goods Company would present Adidas with an opportunity to dominate the American market, especially considering the numerous types of balls it manufactures. In regard to pricing, Adidas should aim at producing quality but affordable balls in order to remain competitive in the market.
Adidas. (2013). JABULANI BAll Production- Official Ball FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
Activist Post. (2013). 2,000 Foxconn workers riot in China. Retrieved from: <http://www.activistpost.com/2013/09/2000-foxconn-workers-riot-in-china.html> [Accessed, 18/11/2013]
Deloitte. (2004). Apparel & footwear industry. Retrieved from:
<http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcomenezuela/Local%20Assets/Documents/us_cb_AFI%285%29%285%29.pdf>. [Accessed, 18/11/2013]
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