Hope Waldron

VP Strategy, Supply Chain, VF Corporation

If you think about the full scope of supply chain and all the steps it takes to bring a product to market, we plan, create, make, move, and sell to consumers. COVID has impacted every single one of those steps in some way. It's been a perfect storm of disruption across the supply chain.

By Betsy Verecky

With 13 different brands in its portfolio, VF Corp.’s vast supply chain was greatly affected by COVID-19, and it was up to Hope Waldron T’08 to help ensure it continued to deliver for consumers across the globe amid massive disruption. Waldron took her position in supply chain strategy with the retailer behind well-known brands Timberland, Vans, and The North Face just before the pandemic set in but says she was prepared, thanks to Tuck’s focus on general management.

“When I moved from brand strategy to my current role at VF Corp., I had no supply chain experience, but the fact that I was able to make that move is a testament to the breadth of the knowledge I gained at Tuck,” she says. “I think in the past, supply chain has been seen as a somewhat staid and tactical, back-office activity, but it’s a dynamic and highly strategic area that’s had to make dramatic changes to adapt to changing consumer shopping behaviors and expectations.”

VF Corp., like many other retailers, is juggling a dramatic rise in online orders alongside COVID-driven lockdowns and business disruptions in countries that are key to its supply chain, logistics challenges that are extending lead-times to move goods around the globe, labor challenges in distribution centers, and capacity issues in last mile delivery that are making it difficult to get packages to shoppers on time.

“Every step along the supply chain has been impacted,” Waldron says. “It’s been quite dramatic.”

When VF Corp. had to reduce staff in distribution centers because of COVID safety protocols, the company introduced lifelike robots that could roll down aisles, pick up items and bring them to employees who packaged them. Doing so has allowed the company to fulfill more orders and process them faster.

In addition, the company is digitizing its brands’ product creation processes so that teams can collaborate virtually and avoid shipping physical samples of products back and forth between countries. Digitizing these capabilities takes a lot of time and cost out of the process and is part of the company’s overall digital transformation that COVID has accelerated.  

“There’s been a lot of focus on the supply chain, much more than ever in recent history,” Waldron says. “Coming out of Tuck, I wouldn’t have thought to go directly to supply chain, but there is a lot of opportunity here, tons of action, investment, and innovation that’s driving real change across the industry. It’s been an incredibly exciting place to be.”

This alumni profile first appeared in the Winter 2022 issue of Tuck Today as a part of “The Great Supply Chain Disruption.”

Continue Reading

Related Stories

The Strategic Operator

Much of what Michael Aragon T’01, former CEO of MIRROR and lululemon digital fitness, has learned during his accomplished career is captured in his “operator’s manual,” a running guide of leadership lessons, insights, and advice. 

Read More

The Decisive Risk-Taker: Meet King Arthur Baking Co. CEO Karen Colberg T’91

Beginning early in her career, King Arthur Baking CEO Karen Colberg T’91 realized how important it was to embrace the long view and take some calculated risks.

Read More

Less Waste, Longer Use: Meet Nike’s Peggy Reid T’98

Through profitable reuse and recycling programs like Nike Grind, Circular Economy Director Peggy Reid T’98 is helping eliminate waste and creating a longer life for Nike’s products. 

Read More

Sweet Success: Meet Entrepreneur Sarah Bell T’14

A conversation with Sarah Bell T’14, cofounder of Spring & Mulberry, a plant-based, naturally-sweetened chocolate brand.

Read More

Alex Jenny

It’s mind-boggling to think about how much work goes into making and shipping a pair of sneakers, even to Alex Jenny D’10, T’16, who’s been at Allbirds for several years.

Read More

Liz Nordlie

Nordlie has had a successful career that’s spanned the course of three decades, the majority of which she spent at General Mills, managing and integrating large acquisitions and spearheading turnarounds for well-known brands.

Read More

Sandy Chen Fedor

Fedor enrolled at Tuck with a keen interest in entrepreneurship, and she’s still using what she learned in her courses to this day, from negotiating with stakeholders to using competitive strategy when building a product.

Read More

Pandemic Lessons in Fashion

Fabletics COO Meera Bhatia T’04 on how technology and teamwork helped her address an increase in product demand and supply chain challenges during the pandemic.

Read More

Meet Peloton’s Chief Operating Officer Mariana Garavaglia T’08

At Peloton, Mariana Garavaglia T’08 is putting people, and culture, first.

Read More

Lincoln Spoor

Every December, Lincoln Spoor T’84, CEO of Feel Good Brands Corp, delivers a truckload of Popcornopolis popcorn to first-year students during final exams.

Read More

The Guru’s Wisdom

CarGurus founder Langley Steinert T’91 has plenty of good advice for budding entrepreneurs, but nothing is more important than loving what you do. 

Read More

Katrina Veerman

With PK Coffee in Stowe, Vermont, Katrina Veerman T’01 turned a passion into a livelihood.

Read More

Kristiana Helmick

Kristiana Helmick T’98 has had three very different jobs in the last decade. And all at a single company: Amazon.

Read More

Tom Slosberg

Very few people can say that the shoe business is in their blood. Tom Slosberg D’90, T’99 is one of them.

Read More

Steve Voigt

How to breathe new life into one of the country’s oldest companies? During his twenty years at King Arthur Flour Company, former president Steve Voigt T'86 did it by embracing people’s love of something timeless: baking.

Read More

Bill McLaughlin

Bill McLaughlin D'78, T’81 is leading America’s oldest mail-order company into the digital future, while mentoring its next generation of leaders.

Read More

Michelle Mooradian

Fluent in four languages and passionate about entrepreneurship, Michelle Mooradian D’95, T’04 went from her post-Tuck consulting job at Opera Solutions to spend almost five years working for McKinsey’s Rio de Janeiro office.

Read More

Carly Rosenberg

Digital marketing was practically in the stone ages when Carly Rosenberg T'05 graduated from Tuck and went to work as a marketing manager at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Read More

Jeff Coleman

T’87 Jeff Coleman’s quest for better nutrition led him to a new, whole-food fuel for athletes and a surprising second act.

Read More

Leslie Hampel

Vice president of store operations, Leslie Hampel T’07 is helping chart a bold future for the coffee retailer.

Read More

Jim Weber

CEO Jim Weber T’86 transformed Brooks Running Company from a dying shoe manufacturer into a premium running brand, and he’s not done yet.

Read More

Joe Santos

Joe Santos D'95, T'00 is the co-founder of the boutique, New York-based distillery Brooklyn Craft Works, and the creator of craft spirit Brooklyn Gin.

Read More

Jeff Swartz

Former Timberland CEO Jeff Swartz T’84 won people over—one eco-friendly piece of gear at a time—with a deeply held belief that doing good in the world is also good for the bottom line.

Read More