There is never a foot that walks into a Town Shoes Ltd. store that can’t be paired with its perfect match. As the largest branded footwear retailer in Canada, Town Shoes Ltd.’s supply chain ensures its customer service is top-notch and merchandise is always available at any store because of its efficient supply chain.

The Toronto-based company has been providing footwear, handbags and accessories since 1952 under the umbrella of four brands: Town Shoes, The Shoe Co., Shoe Warehouse and Sterling. Its merchandise varies by banner ranging from luxury to affordable. “In Canada, we are the largest branded footwear retailer and that gives us an edge in the marketplace,” Vice President of Planning and Supply Chain Ilona Williams says. “We pride ourselves on offering world-class customer service. It’s one of our key pillars both in the field at the store level and in our support center.”

Read more: Town Shoes Ltd.

T-Mobile, the fourth-largest cell phone and wireless network provider in the country, is aggressively working to win new customers away from its competitors – AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint – with its year-old “Un-carrier” strategy. And it’s working. T-Mobile added 4.4 million customers in 2013, making it the fastest-growing U.S. telecom last year.

T-Mobile experienced two other boons last year: It became an iPhone carrier and merged with Metro PCS, a prepaid wireless service. With business booming, there’s tremendous pressure on the supply chain to meet demand and operate efficiently. Companies dream of having this kind of “problem” — even the guy in charge of managing the supply chain. 

Read more: T-Mobile USA

For more than a century, Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. Inc. has evolved along with the game of baseball, Mark Kraemer says. “[We’ve] been able to grow with the game to the highest level, and adjust and change with the times,” he says.

This ranges from sporting goods to products visible in video games for players, “whether they’re on the field or in the seats,” he says. Rawlings strives to stay “in tune with what the players’ needs are, as the games are getting quicker and faster.”

Read more: Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. Inc.

From its Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters, Pilot Flying J has become the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. Today, it has more than 650 locations in the United States and Canada, while its Pilot Logistics Services subsidiary is one of the fastest-growing energy logistics companies in North America. The company is the top seller of over-the-road diesel fuel in the nation and one of the 40-largest private carriers in the country. Recently, it has reinvested hundreds of millions of dollars into existing facilities, remodeling travel plazas and renovating shower facilities.  

Read more: Pilot Flying J

Long gone are the days when getting his photo on the front of a cereal box was the best exposure an NFL player could receive off the field. The business of licensing and marketing the likenesses of professional sports stars has become incredibly sophisticated in a world of social media and increasingly broad licensed product categories. This is magnified when talking about the NFL, America’s most popular professional sports league.

The stars of the NFL are some of the most recognizable athletes in the world, and there are more ways than ever for fans to connect with their favorites. Making sure fans have those opportunities is the responsibility of NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). According to Vice President of Licensing and Business Development Steven Scebelo, NFL Players Inc. has agreements with nearly 80 licensees who develop and market products featuring the likenesses of approximately 2,000 current NFL players. These products include apparel, trading cards, video games, collectibles and toys. 

Read more: NFL Players Inc.

The licensing arm of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking forward to another winning season. “We have expectations for another very successful year in terms of licensing and retail sales,” says Lisa Piken Koper, vice president of licensing. “The growing popularity of basketball and interest in the NBA globally continues to fuel our merchandise business.”

Founded in 1946, the National Basketball Association is a global sports and media business with offices in 13 markets worldwide, and games and programming in 215 countries and territories broadcast in 47 languages. 

Read more: National Basketball Association

Dr. Howard Murad’s unique path to becoming a dermatologist allowed him to pave the way for the creation of Murad Inc., the first brand of clinical skincare products. Dr. Murad had completed his studies as a pharmacist before attending medical school and opening a dermatology practice in Westchester, Calif.  His training as a pharmacist enabled him to compound custom formulas to help his patients, and he ultimately pioneered the medi-spa concept to give people broader access to high-performance skincare services. 

“I was struck by the number of patients who were not getting the help they needed from established treatment protocols,” Dr. Murad says. “I looked for innovative ways to help my patients. Back then, there were very few effective products available to address things such as acne, wrinkles, age spots and pigmentation.”

Read more: Murad Inc.

 “We look to protect and serve the players’ rights while we work to get product in front of the fans and the serve the functions of the organization,” says Evan Kaplan, director of licensing and business development.

Building the Team

It is true that serving as the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball (MLB) players is MLBPA’s primary function. But on top of assisting players with grievances and salary arbitration and working to ensure optimal playing conditions for players, serving as the group licensing agent on behalf of the players is becoming an evermore important focus for MLBPA. 

Read more: MLBPA

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