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Get More Bang for your Buck: How PLM Boosts Productivity Using your Existing Resources


Tim Rumer, Director of Product Lifecycle Management at Mizuno USA explains how Mizuno USA has increased capacity and SKU numbers, cut development timelines and successfully on boarded users with Centric PLM without adding any additional IT resources.

The current retail environment demands a constant flow of new products. As Mizuno USA produces sports apparel and equipment, we need to be able to react quickly to changing trends in the sporting goods marketplace and get new products to market, fast. To meet these demands, quicker product development cycles and more clarity in the supply chain are key. How is it possible to manage this without hiring extra personnel and spending a lot of time analyzing and tweaking your current way of working?

At Mizuno USA, we achieved this goal by investing in Centric’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution to improve visibility across the product development process and centralize product information.

We use Centric PLM™ across all of our divisions and 28 product categories. People can manage up to 75% more styles, development timelines have been cut and we have on boarded users without any extra IT admin or training. Here’s how.

Do More, Better

We now manage more categories more effectively. Between Centric’s data management capabilities and its planning functionality, users can easily manage 50-75% more styles than they could previously. This efficiency means that we can add more styles without putting additional pressure on personnel or making new hires.

Centric also enables people to handle more categories. A person who was managing cleated footwear now also manages soccer footwear and ball gloves, which is our most SKU-intense category. Before, if we wanted to add a category, we needed to add a new person. Now we can manage more categories with the same amount of people AND they have more time in front of the consumer, which leads to better products. It’s a win, win, win.

Managing more categories and SKUs allows us to grow our overall offering without having to add headcount. In the diamond sports (baseball and softball) division, Mizuno USA has increased its SKU count by 10.2% since implementing Centric PLM, adding a greater selection of products to our existing range.

It’s interesting to note that it’s much easier to track that data with Centric in place. If you truly manage all of your products in Centric, you can pull the data you need in three seconds with the change of a view or export. People have had that lightbulb moment – if they work in the system consistently, the information output is there for them and for everybody else.

No Need for New Expertise

During the demo process, what we saw from Centric was light years ahead of other products. It was much more intuitive and easy to use. Some PLM solutions require you to be a pseudo-programmer or IT person. If you’re a product line manager, your job is to plan out assortments and you don’t necessarily have the time to acquire a whole new level of expertise.

The ease of on boarding is another major benefit. Historically, when a person left the building, category knowledge effectively left with them because it was contained in a bunch of spreadsheets and tons of emails. Now, all of the development notes are in one place. Coupled with the development calendar, you can literally plug someone in mid-stream and they know exactly where we are in the development process and what tasks they need to complete next. People can also jump between categories much more easily within the company.

Shortened Development Timelines

Development timelines have shortened since implementing CentricPLM, so shrinking go-to-market and commercialization times is our next high-priority goal. The development side almost happens too fast now! Centric has shrunk our development timelines by 15% and increased the number of styles we put out per season. We’ve only scratched the surface of what Centric can do and we didn’t need to add more resources in order to achieve results.

Once your teams get used to having a centralized source for product information, you will immediately start to see time savings and a reduction in duplicated work, enabling you to do so much more with what you already have. At Mizuno USA, there’s been a holistic change throughout the organization. If there’s a question, Centric is the first place anyone goes for an answer.