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How the Supply Chain and Sourcing Team Supports the ‘Zumba Lifestyle’

Zumba Fitness seeks to optimize its supply chain and sourcing processes and remain nimble.

Zumba Fitness has made it its mission to move the world. By staying innovative and developing a connection with its consumers, the Hallandale, Fla.-based company created a global community of more than 15 million weekly participants in 200,000 locations throughout 186 countries.

“Zumba blends contagious world rhythms and choreography that is easy to follow and provides an active workout that empowers participants to become their best self — mind, body and soul,” Vice President of Global Sourcing and Supply Chain Kavita Kumar says. “Watch any Zumba class and people are always smiling. That’s the beauty of it.”

In addition to its 10 Zumba specialty classes, Zumba Fitness launched its first non-dance, HIIT-based workout in 2016 called STRONG Nation™. The Zumba lifestyle is rounded out by the company’s consumer product offerings that include DVDs, video games and original music, activewear and footwear, and interactive live fitness concerts and events.

While Zumba instructors get participants to move, Zumba Fitness’ supply chain is managing the movement of consumer products throughout the world to its B2C and B2B channels. Zumba Fitness attributes its success to its instructor network and it’s also a top priority for the supply chain and sourcing department to make them successful. 

“Our instructors are the reason why Zumba is successful,” Kumar says. “Our instructors are the heartbeat of the brand and they are the reason for our vibrant community of 15 million weekly students around the world. The music, apparel, everything we produce is with the instructors in mind.”

The supply chain and sourcing department, in collaboration with the rest of the Zumba organization, supports its instructors by providing services, tools, products, music, choreography and apparel. Zumba Fitness also hosts an annual Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando, Fla., and a Zumba Cruise aboard a premier cruise line from the Port Miami that brings some of its global community together in a fun and educational networking environment.

Kumar compares a Zumba class to a fashion runway. “Everyone is showing off their moves, smiling and wearing colorful Zumba branded outfits that include headwear, tank top, leggings and footwear,” she says. “That’s Zumba and it’s a lifestyle. Our success comes from a laser focus on keeping our instructor network successful.”

‘Keep on Moving, Be the Change’

Kumar joined Zumba Fitness eight years ago, bringing with her 17 years of supply chain experience in India and the United States. “After college in India I started at a textile design and manufacturing company that supplied apparel to large retailers in the U.S. and Europe,” she remembers. “That’s where I gained hands-on exposure by getting into the trenches with product development, sourcing and operations. When I came to the United States in 1995, sourcing and supply chain was a natural fit with my hands-on experience and background in textiles.”

Despite the best planning, there is always a new supply chain challenge every day, Kumar says. “It’s really gratifying, especially at Zumba when you are so connected with the consumers,” she adds. “With social media today, we can see posts from people who receive their package and it’s beautiful. They post their happy pictures with the package sitting on their doorstep. But in that same instance, as a supply chain professional, I know there will be a challenge I will need to fix and keep it moving forward.”

Kumar was attracted to Zumba Fitness’ core value of “keep on moving, be the change.” “I feel these motivate us to bring out the best in each other,” she says. “Our founders are always encouraging the staff to come up with new ideas and ‘keep on moving, be the change.’ It’s such a fun brand and I’m so proud of this community.”

Evolving to Meet New Consumer Needs

Zumba Fitness looks to optimize its supply chain and sourcing processes and remain nimble. For example, the company launches a new fashion-forward collection for its instructor network every 30 to 45 days. “All of this is possible if you establish relevant KPIs and monitor them,” Kumar says. “We monitor those KPIs and from there, we can see what process innovation is possible. We are continuously evolving.”

The coronavirus pandemic has required Zumba Fitness to make several adjustments, including creating different avenues to serve its instructors and students. Kumar says stay-at-home orders raised the Zumba community’s desire to stay fit and feel good even more. “For the first time we immediately adapted and launched a digital platform for the instructors to offer classes virtually to their students,” she adds. “We are also offering online instructor training programs in multiple languages.” 

The supply chain department also began cross-training its team in January to make sure more than one person could perform the mission critical jobs if someone got sick. “I call it a buddy system,” Kumar says. “Using SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform, the team was able to communicate and stay up-to-date on information from sourcing, purchasing, logistics and distribution.” 

With its global footprint, Zumba Fitness had to proactively manage closures, delays, capacity issues and restrictions across its vendor network during the pandemic. The company developed contingency plans and adapted on a day-to-day basis. Seventy percent of Zumba Fitness’ business is e-commerce and the company increased its e-commerce promotions when governments issued stay-at-home orders. 

“With limitations on warehouse operations, it was a challenge to be able to service everything, but we worked through the challenges and I am happy to say that we have a lot of satisfied customers globally enjoying the promotions and bundles,” Kumar says. “They look forward to the package. When their Zumba package arrives it’s like early Christmas.”

In addition to fulfilling its regular lifestyle products, Zumba Fitness is adding hand sanitizers and face coverings to meet the needs of its instructors and students. Zumba Fitness plans to continue evaluating its business practices, develop new products and innovate to ensure its instructors remain successful. 

“I think we are taking it one day at a time as we transition into the new normal,” Kumar says. “Our priorities have stayed the same, which is our instructor’s success. We are proud of our presence, but think we have the ability to reach more people and provide them services and products that will support them through personal transformations big and small.”