KEEN is an outdoor values-led lifestyle brand made famous by their closed-toe Newport sandal with a mission to create original and versatile products, improve lives, and inspire outside adventure. They decided to seek a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution after realizing they couldn’t scale the business or make strategic decisions by only relying on scattered product information buried in multiple Excel spreadsheets, email attachments and inaccessible files stored on team members’ personal computers. They took the leap with Centric PLM and were gratified to reap tangible benefits right away. Planning, data accuracy, sample tracking, and speed-to-market all got a huge boost.
As Aaron Hellickson, Product Development Technology Manager at KEEN explains: “Centric PLM opened up conversations around what our current processes were. The discussions brought the company together and got us to take stock of how and why we were doing something the way we were and shed a light on things that we could possibly be doing better.”
Here are his 7 takeaways about how Keen laid the foundation for future growth with Centric PLM:
1) What’s the Plan?
Once the collection plan is in PLM it is visible to all; any team member can access it, also creating some accountability. We are continuing to add content into the system to build a history. The past seasons’ data can then inform future planning. Visibility into planning allows us to better measure Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with increased numbers of SKUs.
2) Now you see me…
One of the biggest advantages of Centric PLM is the transparency – the upstream and downstream data is visible to all the groups that need it. We don’t need to call our factories to send over some missing information on a certain style; we can just go into Centric to find that information ourselves. We work on three seasons simultaneously, so the benefits with respect to accuracy and speed are multiplied three-fold or more.
3) Under Cover
KEEN made the decision to embed an IT person in product development – that person was me! This created invaluable cross-pollination of ideas and made the whole progression evolve more organically. Going live is just the first step and we are finding new functionality for the system as we progress. Super users from each department were also be put in place to ensure a successful implementation by providing valuable resources accessible to all.
4) Central Hub
Centric has the capability to integrate with our existing systems. Regarding tech packs, designers can upload Adobe Illustrator files that are linkable and immediately visible. This provides automatic version control within the Centric platform, eliminating the need to keep track of it manually. Users have confidence that the files they are viewing are up-to-date and costly errors are drastically reduced. We have also integrated with our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and we can push SKUs out of Centric into our ERP.
5) Ultra-fast user adoption
One of the great things that sold us on Centric is that it is user-friendly from a layout perspective. The interface is very intuitive. We can get new developers up and running quickly in one to two-hour training sessions. I’ve noticed recently that the user base is starting to speak the language of PLM. Questions have become more specific and pragmatic instead of theoretical and they understand what is possible. The ease-of-use and getting up-to-speed pays off every single time we bring a new user onto the system.
6) Report Card
So many different reports were needed to be run for varying audiences. For example, five different line lists from different regions used to have to be assembled at each one of our key seasonal stage-gates. They had to be put together by hand and were prone to errors and the whole process was very time-consuming. That also meant the reports were out-of-date the next day. Now, once the information is in Centric, it can be sliced and diced however we need it – quickly and without fear of carrying over any mistakes that may have been caused by manual entry.
7) Global Reach
We operate across the world and having all the regions being able to access the exact same information and view what is happening in different seasons and countries goes a long way toward eliminating issues with time zones and language, especially with the ability to have photos and line drawings captured in PLM. And on a more general level, a single source of the truth serves everybody well.