Supply chain disruptions were a major headache throughout 2021 and show no sign of letting up in the early days of 2022.
How can consumer-driven businesses in sectors like fashion, home and multi-category retail consistently deliver great products that consumers love on time in the face of constant instability?
Unpredictability: the only certainty
The on again/off again nature of the pandemic is causing unpredictable changes in material costs and interrupting everything from raw material sourcing to manufacturing, processing, shipping, logistics and delivery. Product design and development decisions are no longer just driven by the best price for materials, but by availability and other crucial considerations such as sustainability targets.
60% of CFOs surveyed by Deloitte reported reduced sales due to supply chain disruptions in 2021. 44% indicated that shortages or delays have increased costs. Ballooning shipping costs are a particular concern, with the price of container shipping from China to the US rising up to tenfold in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic levels.
While these challenges look set to continue into 2022, along with uneven consumer demand and constant bottom-line pressure, agile and forward-looking companies are adopting proactive strategies and digital transformation tools to adapt to this new landscape.
Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions are foundational for countless apparel, home décor, and multi-category retail businesses to manage every part of the product lifecycle from design to sourcing to internal buying. As the PLM market leader in consumer goods, Centric Software® works in close relationship with a customer advisory board and many innovation partners, listening carefully to customer concerns and reacting to develop realistic, practical solutions to their greatest challenges.
This year, the message from customers has been loud and clear: market and supply chain disruptions are causing havoc with go-to-market strategies and interrupting the best-laid product development plans. In response, the latest release of Centric PLM™, v7.4, contains industry-driven features to ultimately reduce customer costs, drive their competitiveness, improve their collaboration and boost quick execution to differentiate them from the pack.
Shipping delays have a knock-on effect on product development and launch timelines, and anything that can streamline the shipping and transportation process is a welcome relief. Centric PLM v7.4 introduces a new packing list feature that automates the generation and printing of shipping labels with accurate and up-to-date information required by customs, avoiding the need for costly custom software and speeding transit through border checks.
High-quality 3D design and virtual sampling/prototyping can eliminate rounds of time-consuming and expensive physical sample manufacturing – not to mention delays due to shipping complications. Centric is expanding its end-to-end 3D digital design and development workflow by allowing non-3D teams to access and provide feedback on 3D product visuals. Enhancing collaboration and streamlining product communication between 3D and non-3D teams, both internal and external, cuts product development time to get desirable products to market, fast.
With material and shipping costs putting finances under pressure, businesses need to gain efficiencies wherever they can. Centric’s new Product Presentations module enables teams to build presentations using PLM’s single source of truth for product data, saving time and ensuring that presentations are accurate and on-brand. Design and product development decision-making becomes faster and smarter with new side-by-side Bill of Materials (BOM) comparisons, empowering product teams to make more informed material choices and easily track changes over time.
Market disruptions are the current norm, but it’s possible to mitigate the worst impacts and adapt with strategic investments in automation, business agility and digital transformation. By eliminating many of the manual processes associated with communication, design, development, production and shipping, Centric PLM v7.4 enables businesses to handle each new twist and turn.