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Cutting Through Chaos: Marc Jacobs’ PLM Journey


by Louise Neslin, PLM & Analytics Senior Manager at Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs is a driving force in the fashion industry; balancing tradition and innovation. We support over 75 charities and organizations around the world and are committed to the communities that surround us.

With in-house product lines including accessories, bags, clothing and shoes, we need to align and standardize our design and development processes across divisions.

A Chaotic Past

Costing didn’t exist in our previous PLM system, so the Bill of Materials (BOM) for each style was exported in Excel to manually generate cost breakdowns and calculate each margin offline. We needed strict controls to make sure that offline cost sheet matched the BOM. We also handled shipping costs and planning in an offline Excel spreadsheet which prevented the logistics team from efficiently accessing material details.

Without a functional line plan for editing assortments or reviewing profitability, we handled the line plan through Excel, which prevented us from linking data. Attachments necessary for production such as design instructions, patterns and fit notes were shipped to factories – often resulting in delays – rather than being stored and made available in PLM.

We suffered from a lack of communication. Raw material and product management across multiple Excel files prevented teams in different offices and countries from accessing information. This resulted in multiple versions of the ‘truth’.

Our old system didn’t support any forecast functionality, so forecasts leading to raw material pre-buy, blended margins and production allocations were managed through Excel.

Centric offers the best of two worlds: real knowledge of fashion, coupled with a high level of professionalism in terms of software and IT. You don't often find that combination."

Why Centric PLM

With clear credibility and expertise across fashion and footwear, Centric is a natural partner to provide our PLM solution. Centric PLM™ offers the best of two worlds: real knowledge of fashion coupled with a high level of professionalism in terms of software and implementation expertise.

Centric’s ‘out of the box’ capabilities make the transition straightforward and hassle-free: I’m not hugely tech savvy, but I figured out Centric PLM on my own. Everything is accessed and validated in one place, limiting user errors. Everything is live and if something is changed it’s recalculated automatically, so users don’t need to know any formulas.

Work in progress (WIP), which tracks production stages, is awesome: you can save dates there and then, with no need for emails. Cost management has a very flexible layout, with sub-groups available, and you can include images of items.

When you repeat a style in another season with a different material, or add a different color, it’s so simple to copy it over to the new season instead of recreating it: with Centric PLM it takes a matter of seconds, instead of hours in other PLM systems.

It upsets me when people need to manually type up changes and make sure they email them to everyone involved. Thanks to Centric’s automated change log, you don’t need to alert anyone—everyone can automatically see when the changes were done.

The Clear Winner

To compare Centric’s benefits against other systems, I took a style I’d set up in Centric and mimicked it in another PLM software. Centric was a clear winner in terms of cleanliness, simplicity and organization.

I’m incredibly pleased with the solution. I’m always finding new opportunities to take processes out of other platforms and integrate them into PLM and Centric has been able to accommodate them all. We even tried to challenge Centric with a few ready-to-wear ideas we had, and they said, “Of course we can do that!”