“We used to store our product information in hundreds of Excel sheets. There was a lot of back and forth with our manufacturers because we didn’t have any visibility on the status of our products or the actual costing of raw materials. Quality control was also cumbersome and managed in spreadsheets. This was completely inefficient for a company that produces over 4 million pairs of shoes a year, especially when our mission is to provide the highest quality products.”
For Juan Enrique Jiménez Esquitino, Head of Supply Planning, the transition to Centric PLM™ for footwear was long overdue. Camper was stuck using an outdated and unreliable legacy PLM platform that was significantly behind the times. Although this system had had some adaptations over the years, it was designed for the engineering, car and aerospace industries.
Camper needed a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platform built specifically for the fashion and footwear business; a solution where teams could seamlessly manage merchandising, design, development, sourcing, manufacturing and compliance. When considering other solutions on the market, Centric Software® emerged as the winner thanks to its flexibility, usability and expertise in the footwear sector.
“The legacy PLM system we used to work with was a generalist product. We arrived at a crossroads where the software was effectively obsolete. We were only using it towards the end of the development process to feed the ERP system with Bills of Material (BOMs) and collection data. We desperately needed a platform that would enable us to track product development and gain full visibility from ideation to product launch. It was time to make a forward-thinking change for our business.”
Now, with Centric Footwear PLM, product information has shifted from “ fragmented and scattered to transparent and visually accessible, from concept to retail. This enhanced data visibility has also led to more accurate costing at earlier stages in product development, as well as a significantly improved quality management thanks to better control of the certification processes.
Founded in Mallorca in 1975, Lorenzo Fluxa created Camper to respond to the demand for a new and more modern style of footwear. With a rich heritage in shoemaking, a unique brand was created full of diversity and contrast which is now admired the world over.
The origins of the company first began back in 1877 when Lorenzo’s grandfather, Antonio Fluxa, a skilled cobbler, traveled from Mallorca to England and returned with the first sewing machines on the Island and a newfound spirit of innovation.
Camper’s shoes are still designed and developed in Inca, in the rural heart of Mallorca. Here, a young creative team works alongside artisans to create approximately 500 models each season. Now in its fourth generation, the brand’s footprint has stretched around the globe with more than 400 stores in more than 40 countries.
Camper’s need for a single source of truth was becoming increasingly evident. Teams were depending on a myriad of Excel spreadsheets as their old legacy PLM system had serious limitations which only allowed for data entry at the end of the product lifecycle, leading to meetings where teams had conflicting data, resulting in errors and misunderstandings.
“We needed to be able to go straight to the source,’’ says Juan. “Somewhere that would help us know at any time how the collection was progressing, allow us to follow it in real-time, and avoid scenarios where different departments had their own information in disconnected files. Worst of all was being in meetings where nobody knew which figures were closest to the truth.”
“We also wanted a simple solution that would get users on board quickly,” says Juan. “A user-friendly and comprehensive PLM system that would allow us to follow along with the development of a collection and the different users involved could track a shoe all the way to the shop floor.”
After considering several different PLM platforms, it was clear that Centric Software offered the best solution for Camper, “Fast implementation and easy maintenance were key factors in our decision, as well as Centric PLM’s incredible flexibility.” Juan recalls the speedy implementation that took place several years ago, “It took about four months before we were up and running. With the other systems we were looking at, this was unprecedented. The rapid implementation process was not only because of how flexible Centric PLM is, but also because of the highly-capable, expert team.”
“We opted for a ‘soft implementation’ phased approach, leveraging Centric Software’s Agile MethodologyTM. The simple and user-friendly interface facilitated the transition and resulted in high user adoption. It was extremely fast and very satisfying,” adds Juan.
The implementation also came at a crucial time for Camper when the entire organization had just been restructured. Centric PLM played a vital part in supporting this transition by bringing more visibility to the new processes and assignment of roles.
Shortly after Camper implemented Centric PLM, the footwear brand began experiencing incredible benefits. With a single source of truth, product developers were able to speed up their processes, meanwhile costing and quality control procedures were vastly improved.
Offering high-quality products while minimizing environmental impact is at the core of Camper’s mission. Their commitment to constant innovation, and relentless improvement of processes is now supported by Centric PLM. “We’re now able to fully manage raw material certification in Centric PLM, enabling our teams to ensure high-quality standards, which also contributes to our mission to go green and offer more sustainable products.”
adds Juan. Centric PLM enables access to the most up-to-date data in real-time, facilitating collaboration and communication amongst teams and cutting out time- consuming, manual processes. Increased visibility hasn’t just impacted quality control and product development speed for Camper.
Thanks to Centric PLM for footwear and full integration with their ERP system, they’re also able to estimate costing scenarios much more accurately, earlier in the product development process which allows Camper to ensure optimal profit margins. Juan explains, “any time a change is made to our BOMs, the costing is automatically adjusted and the data is updated in our ERP, whereas before all data was housed in different Excel sheets. We have better foresight of our margins thanks to Centric!”
Centric PLM has been an integral part of Camper’s day-to-day business since 2013. When discussing future plans, Juan comments, “At the moment Camper’s designers are still ideating products outside of Centric, but we can see a future where this work becomes integrated within the digital PLM platform too.” On a more strategic level, Camper is also aiming to expand the solution to suppliers in China.
“Our teams now have instant access to accurate and reliable data, empowering them to work faster and more efficiently. Centric PLM has enabled Camper to power its growth while safeguarding the quality of its products it is known for.”