With a rising demand by consumers for products that are sustainably produced and a focus on reducing detrimental impacts on the environment, fashion companies recognize that being more responsible and transparent with their sustainable practices is simply critical for their bottom-line while being good for the planet.
Driving digital transformation with innovative Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions allows brands to have full visibility into every phase of product development: they can directly track compliance requirements, improve communications with suppliers and get to market faster.
DZ Group, a global private label fashion manufacturer recently implemented Centric Software’s subscription-based PLM solution for small to medium enterprises, Centric SMB, to set a digital foundation to continue their leadership in sustainable business practices. We asked Vanessa Muillins, Technical Designer at DZ Group to tell us more about DZ Group and how Centric PLM supports them to handle the creation of each garment, starting with the raw materials (the farm) all the way through to retail (the fashion) in a more sustainable way.
DZ Group roots – Farm to Fashion
DZ Group is a global private knitwear label manufacturer with 40 years of history and is a leader in the sustainable fashion movement with their ‘Farm to Fashion’ operations. Founder & CEO, Ed Duffy, visited China in 1977 and launched his company six years later producing and exporting the world’s finest cashmere products from China.
Since their humble beginnings, DZ Group manages the full production lifecycle of cashmere products from raw material harvesting and processing to yarn production and garment fabrication. By owning the process top to bottom, they guarantee access to the best raw materials. Part of their quality control is that they source from goats that are raised in an eco-friendly environment, producing cashmere that will look and perform as luxurious as it is.
Today, DZ Group has evolved to offer a full suite of services including design, sourcing and production. They produce clothing for some of the world’s most recognizable brands including Helmut Lang, Banana Republic and Paul Smith. But according to Ed Duffy, Founder and CEO, “Everything comes down to execution and if you cannot deliver the product on time, you lose the game right there”.
How do innovation and sustainability intersect at DZ Group?
DZ Group is committed to following the highest social, ethical and technical standards in the industry. One of DZ Group’s areas of expertise, that is also woven deeply into the fabric of the company, is their commitment to Research & Development (R&D). Their R&D team does not only represent a department in the company, but it is embedded in their workflow and infused in everything they create for their customers.
They are constantly innovating and at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing techniques. They are experts at re-imagining new stitches, cables and ways to knit with sustainable new yarn blends that differ from anything on the market today. Their innovative approach has them leading the way in sustainable high-end production.
One of the most exciting recent developments at DZ Group that is a testament to their commitment to sustainability is the opening of an office in Ulaanbataar, Mongolia, focused on sustainable cashmere production. Highly skilled DZ Group team members also travel from factory to factory to ensure the highest standards; quality, local laws and factory compliance are maintained. They follow internationally recognized social and technical compliance standards and work with factories that are Sedex members as well as OEKO TEX, SA8000 and WRAP certified.
How does Centric SMB drive DZ Group’s sustainable operations?
One of DZ Group’s main business challenges was the ability to centralize information and to understand and utilize all of their resources across offices because they are working across different time zones. Centric SMB provides a single source of truth which improves communication, reduces response time to customers, speeds time to market and gives full visibility of the supply chain.
With Centric SMB, DZ Group can now connect their entire sourcing team with suppliers to maintain the highest level of product quality. The sourcing team is able to efficiently manage vendor communication, proposals and quotes, monitor compliance to meet sustainability practices and international standards, and set acceptable product quality limits to evaluate supplier performance.
In a marketplace where demand for sustainable product development is a growing consideration in consumer buying decisions, Centric SMB powers DZ Group’s commitment to sustainable business practices. With PLM, they reduced the amount of energy that goes into production because of improvements in communication, reduction of errors and more streamlined workflow. With a visible record of end-to-end production, DZ Group can deliver accurate and transparent information to their customers and continue to offer sustainably produced premium products.
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