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Tip of the Hat to '47 Brands


'47 is a private, family owned American clothing brand founded in 1947 by twin Italian immigrant brothers, Henry and Arthur D'Angelo. Arthur D'Angelo remains President of '47, with his four sons in leadership positions: Steven D'Angelo, Robert D'Angelo, David D'Angelo and Mark D'Angelo. '47 maintains licenses to create headwear, apparel and accessories for the Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Football League, Major League Lacrosse, National Rugby League and over 900 college institutions in the United States.

The Challenge

In 2014, the company was going through an aggressive growth period. Kevin Crean, Director Human Resources, knew that in order for the company to manage the current and future growth he needed additional training for their employees. MassMEP’s partner, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), spoke to ’47 about on-the-shop floor training opportunities and grant funding available in Massachusetts, including the training opportunities of MassMEP, part of the MEP National Network™, which met the balance of Kevin’s shop floor training needs. MassMEP and AIM’s training provided ’47 a company-wide transformational training program, not just the shop floor.
Without the guidance, flexibility and customized training provided by MassMEP, ’47 would not have been able to successfully manage our exponential growth.
— Kevin Crean, Director of Human Resources

MEP's Role

The company-wide training changed the mindset within the company from a reactionary business to one with a clear business model and strategic goals. One of the first trainings provided by MassMEP was a Value Stream Map (VSM), which encompassed the complete order process - from order taking to collecting payment. The VSM included 7 departments, and it was eye-opening for everyone to uncover where the production delays were in the process and how many times the product went back and forth. They also discovered that 70% of artwork created was not being used and this was a huge drain on resources and time. In addition, an unexpected outcome once the changes were implemented, was the time savings within the IT department.

Prior to the training, productivity was not consistent; after the training they were 18 months ahead of schedule, and the company was having more open and strategic communications. During this period, they received contracts to produce products for the NFL and NBA for the first time. Crean stated that without the VSM they would not have been able to meet the demands placed on the company with these new contracts. Since the training, mistakes are down, they have added final stop gap checks, and they are going to add 4 quality control positions in the near future.

As a result of training with MassMEP, the business model within the company changed as well as morale and per product cost. TWI job instruction provided the company with clear training goals and objectives. Now all new hires go through a whole week of training, and new employees spend at least 30 minutes with each department, including lunch with the owners.

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 12, 2021