“A single source of truth, rapid information access and enhanced visibility enables us to focus on launching better products at a better cost, faster.”
Jordan Harrop, Senior Analyst – FootJoy Operations at Acushnet, explains that the golf equipment company needed a digital platform to improve collaboration and handle more complex, growing operations.
“As we evolved, we collaborated with more sourcing partners around the globe using emails, Excel sheets and phone calls. We couldn’t run reports easily, it was cumbersome, and we lacked live and transparent information. We needed to get more efficient.”
Acushnet decided to invest in a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution to enhance visibility and communication across its teams in order to make better products, reduce costs and speed time to market. After an intense selection process, Acushnet chose to implement Centric PLM.
Today, Acushnet has freed up teams to do more value-added work and is enjoying the improved control and better decision-making that results from “phenomenal” visibility into costing, line planning and product development. How did Centric PLM transform the way teams work every day at Acushnet?
Founded in 1932 and based in Massachusetts, Acushnet is the global leader in the design, development, manufacture and distribution of performance-driven golf products, which are widely recognized for their excellent quality. Acushnet is the steward of two of the most revered brands in golf – Titleist, one of golf’s leading performance equipment brands, and FootJoy, one of golf’s leading performance wear brands.
Acushnet’s mission is to be the performance and quality leader in every golf product category in which the company competes. Acushnet’s other top-of-the-range golf brands include Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron putters and Pinnacle golf balls. Most recently, Acushnet acquired Links and Kings, a luxury golf accessory brand, and Kjus, the Swiss ski and golf performance wear brand. Kjus has been a Centric Software customer since early 2019.
As Acushnet grew, its supply chains and sourcing practices became more complex. It reached a point where it became clear that the company needed a digital solution to handle communication and collaboration across teams.
“Taking FootJoy as an example, our manufacturing was once solely based in the U.S., near Acushnet’s product development center. It was quite an old-school arrangement. However, over the years Acushnet grew and we developed a network of suppliers and sourcing partners across the world. We source leather from the U.K., Ethiopia and several Asian countries, including Taiwan and China. From a product management standpoint, we have offices around the globe, in countries including the U.K., Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia among others.”
“Collaborating effectively with vendors and across these various global teams was very difficult using our previous system of emails, Excel sheets and offline communication, and we knew we needed to change,” Harrop continues. “We’re a small team and we were spending a lot of time on mundane, non-value-added tasks. Our vision going forward was to implement a solution that would enable us to have up-to-date costing, tech packs and Bills of Materials (BOMs) in one centrally accessible place. Then, where our global suppliers could also enter information, helping us to save time, make more informed decisions and reduce costs.”
Acushnet went through a lengthy and demanding PLM selection process involving RFPs, sandbox environment demos and reference calls. The company eventually selected Centric PLM on the basis of its usability, configurable implementation and ability to mold to Acushnet’s specific business processes.
“Centric PLM is flexible, configurable and can be implemented in phases,” says Harrop. “It’s difficult to harmonize across our divisions because they have different supply models and costing structures, so we needed a very flexible solution that could be gradually rolled out across all our divisions and configured in a way that would accommodate each one. Since our teams’ skills are primarily focused on apparel design, shoemaking and product development rather than IT, we wanted to make sure the solution was robust in terms of usability. Strong user acceptance was key for us.”
Acushnet implemented Centric on time and on budget for FootJoy’s footwear division and Titleist’s golf gear division. Vendors are connected to the system, and Acushnet is now rolling out Centric across its apparel division.
Since going live with Centric PLM, product teams have saved time and energy and can now focus on faster, more efficient and more profitable products.
“We now have one place for up-to-date information and real-time collaboration,” says Harrop.
“We have the ability to ask what the cost is on anything and get an immediate answer. Before, we would email our factories, ask for a cost sheet to be sent over, eventually get the cost sheet, and discover that somebody had made a change down the line so the cost was no longer accurate. The-single-source-of-truth issues really start to come into play with costing, so we love the ability to see accurate, up-to-date costs and make informed decisions early on in the process.” “We also now receive costs before we see samples, which is a huge win for us. We will now have a quote and a BOM complete before the sample comes in.”
Using the merchandising module in Centric PLM, Acushnet has developed a more transparent and collaborative line planning and assortment planning process.
“We have essentially created a menu of products indicating what our management team in the U.S. feels the line will be in the future,” explains Harrop. “This enables great collaboration and visibility for all of our markets across the globe. Our regional merchandisers in the U.K., Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia can see each others’ assortments and collaborate with the central management team to select from the master list of products and provide feedback for better assortment planning.”
“From a merchandising standpoint, it’s a gamechanger. Development and merchandising are interconnected when it comes to figuring out the line plan, so having a system where everyone sees the same thing and works off the same platform is greatly beneficial. The merchandising module allows us to plan and forecast better, which means we gain greater efficiency across the board.” As Harrop concludes, “A single source of truth, rapid information access and enhanced visibility enable us to focus on launching better products at better cost faster.”
Acushnet is in the process of implementing Centric PLM for its apparel team and will continue to add vendors to the system where appropriate. Acushnet currently uses the Capture It and Factory Audit PLM-connected mobile apps and intends to extend its use of Centric’s market-leading mobile apps further. In a future phase, Acushnet is planning to integrate Centric PLM with its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Looking ahead to the future of Acushnet’s partnership with Centric, Harrop notes that the critical elements of Centric’s approach are the adaptability of the software and the responsiveness of Centric’s team.
“If we have a new division that needs to come on board, we can work it out quickly. If there’s an urgent request, or there’s a new data point we should be tracking, Centric will add an attribute and test it out, make sure it works, move it into production, and we’re off to the races. That type of speed is critical for us and it’s really where Centric shines.”