For a company that helps people stay comfortable outdoors when disconnecting from the stresses of work and, to some extent, technology, Columbia Sportswear has managed to balance a business philosophy that combines the best of technology with a respect for the natural world.
The billion-dollar company headquartered near Portland, Ore., is best known for its outerwear, footwear, camping gear and skiwear. Columbia distributes its products in more than 72 countries and operates its
Visibility into the supply chain is essential to the success of the outdoor lifestyle company. Supply chain analytics also provide insight into the environmental practices of Columbia’s suppliers as well as its own environmental footprint, which the company has made a concerted effort to reduce.
Fred Pond, Columbia’s CIO, spent some time discussing with CIO Insight how Columbia picks environmentally friendly partners, why supply chain software is so important and what makes the Pacific Northwest a unique place to call home.
CIO Insight: I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest. Is it worth a visit?
Fred Pond: Absolutely! It has a good vibe—it’s a big city, but has a small town feel. That’s what makes it different than other metropolitan areas like Seattle or San Francisco.
Portlanders pride themselves on being uniquely different. There’s a saying —“Keep Portland Weird”—and it’s true. We’re just a little off kilter. And proud of it.
CIO Insight: At Columbia, environmental impact is given serious consideration, as one would expect of an outdoor apparel company. How does technology help Columbia meet its environmental goals?