Letters from our Leaders
Beginning with our founding, New Balance has followed its own path. We don't presume that the usual ways of doing things are best. Instead of making quarterly decisions, we make long-term choices that will sustain our business and keep us on the road to success. In an era of IPOs and mergers to be the biggest, we have not only maintained our 106-year-old tradition of being private and family owned, but we have achieved global growth and success on our terms. We also maintain a deep-seeded relationship with our communities and have a history of volunteerism and philanthropy with the areas that proudly support us.
The innovation of our teams and products, in combination with our values, behaviors and Responsible Leadership Foundation is the reason we've grown, even through difficult economic times. We know associates are our greatest asset and they are driven to achieve. We are fully committed to development and growth in our offices, factories and retail locations.
Doing things our way is the only way we know and continuing to support U.S. domestic manufacturing is just one important example of our alternative path. While we could have chosen to abandon U.S. manufacturing and move all production overseas we have made a commitment to local manufacturing and our factory associates because we see the long-term impact on a daily basis. The people crafting shoes in our own factories have an average tenure of 8.4 years, twice the 2010 U.S. factory average. We even have some third-generation associates in our factories. We're proud of our team's commitment to lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. Their work allows us to leverage our proximity to the U.S. retailer and U.S. consumer to provide faster replenishment and delivery.
Many have asked recently, how do we improve the viability of U.S. manufacturing? Our strategy has always been to make long-term investments. For example, in the U.S., we invest in training our associates and improving our facilities. We invest millions of dollars in local suppliers and the community. We support the jobs of our 1,200 manufacturing associates and we also positively impact 38 domestic suppliers and their more than 5,000 employees. It is not easy, but we make it a corporate priority because we ultimately benefit from increased innovation, cascading learnings across our facilities and by being the only company who can provide our retailers and consumers with athletic footwear made in USA and Flimby, UK.
Going forward, we have much work to do. Although many of our Responsible Leadership efforts are at the forefront of our industry, there are other areas, where our peers lead the way and we can learn from them. In the past, we tended to tackle industry challenges alone. We are now participating in progressive industry collaborations, and in every case, we are there to learn from committed members and to share what we do well. We have not communicated to all our important stakeholders, and this report is an important milestone to improve that dialogue. Finally, we are aggressively working on our Responsible Leadership metrics and systems. We look forward to sharing more with you on that in future updates.
Business is a powerful force for social change and a reason to thank those who help us succeed. As we all move forward, it is the role of Responsible Leadership to lead the way.
PRESIDENT & C.E.O.