BA buttons down cheaper uniform

28 April 2004
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29 April 2004

British Airways has slashed the cost of designing, manufacturing and distributing its new uniform to half the original 2001 budget.

The airline won't say how much it spends on uniforms, citing commercial confidentiality, but claims it has saved 30 per cent on unit costs.

"BA has been going through a torrid time in recent years and we had to look to reduce costs where possible," said David Crawford, its uniforms procurement manager.

The 30 per cent savings came from making male and female suits out of the same material and reducing the number of buttons on each suit from six or eight to three.

The new uniforms, designed by Julien Macdonald, who has made dresses for Liz Hurley, Kylie Minogue and Liv Tyler, will incorporate a total of 800,000 buttons and 370,000 metres of fabric.

The number of suppliers was slashed to 11 in order to reduce administration costs.

Costs were adding up because each of the suppliers, rather than BA itself, held the raw materials to supply the uniforms.

In a further cost-cutting step BA will hold three to four weeks of stock in its warehouses and pay for extra uniforms when needed.

Distribution of the uniforms for the airline's 32,000 staff is being outsourced to Christian Salvesen, a process that is expected to take a year.


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