Welcome to the second installment of #HowTechHelps!
In this series, we aim to bring you insights into some of the best practices and innovative technologies that fellow industry professionals are leveraging to safeguard their businesses during this time of crisis.
For this edition of #HowTechHelps, we had the opportunity to speak to Flis Leverton, Senior Head of Master Data Management at a global fashion company, and a long-time Centric PLM user.
Read on to discover how revolutionary technologies are enabling her company’s teams to push forward despite the unprecedented market challenges.
Flis Leverton on #HowCentricPLMConnects
Could you tell us a little bit about your role and the fashion company you work at?
We design, manufacture and sell men’s and women’s clothing, accessories and other products around the world through our own stand-alone retail stores as well as concessions, wholesale and e-commerce platforms including our own website.
My role incorporates project management of the Centric Fashion PLM system including upgrades, testing, and changes to the system in-line with the business strategy and new ways of working.
We went live in July 2015 and all departments use Centric PLM to develop the product before it interfaces to our ERP. Design start the process with the sketch and basic style attributes, Garment Techs add the size chart. Then, our buying team creates the quotes and the production team manages the bulk attributes, approvals and sourcing.
How have the global lockdowns impacted the backend of your business?
Our products are manufactured around the world. We had planned for Chinese New Year shutdowns, but not anticipated the workers not being able to return to the factories afterward. With Europe on lockdown and physical samples not being shipped for the next season, new technologies and ways of working are quickly being implemented, and teams are leveraging Centric PLM more than ever before!
How does Centric PLM support your organization when forced to work remotely? How can team leaders monitor projects and activities?
Imagine having to use Excel spreadsheets, a shared drive or paperwork like we did 5 years ago? Centric PLM is a web-based platform, a single source of truth, which is easily accessed from outside of the office network either via Citrix or VPN. Centric 8 updates in real-time, so it is easy for teams to keep track and see the status of styles and samples.
Centric 8 enables everyone to easily search and see styles created by their colleagues. It is very easy for users to self-manage where data is missing by filtering on “Blanks” or their managers to filter higher up the hierarchy to ensure the progress of the styles is meeting the business requirements in line with the company critical path.
What other features on Centric PLM are making teams’ lives easier right now?
Easy access to information and the ability to send tech packs remotely. Colour palettes are uploaded for the rest of the teams to refer to. Documents can be uploaded so everyone has one centralized access to view these.
We also have the ability to upload and download sketches to make any amendments. Through views, we have the ability to see which data sheets are missing (BOMs, Size Charts, Image Data Sheet, etc.) so managers can make sure that all information has been completed.
Many industry professionals are suddenly in a situation they’ve never lived before and trying to find ways to make it as easy-going as possible. What tips or tricks would you like to share with others on how to effectively work from home?
I’d say it’s important to keep an established routine. Despite not having a daily commute, I am still rising at 5:45 a.m., getting dressed as if I am going to the office (top half at least), and doing my makeup, etc. I check my email around 7:00 a.m. to liaise with colleagues in the Far East. We use MS Teams to share screens, have video conference calls to discuss solutions and to prioritize our work. I also ensure that I am drinking enough water to stay refreshed!
Fashion businesses are currently looking for ways to respond better during these challenging times and prepare themselves for future market challenges. What piece of advice would you give them?
Take advantage of this extra time to prepare the next steps! We are using the extra spare time to ensure that all data has been populated for the next season, ready for launch so we can act quickly when things go back to normal.