Gymshark Boosts Design Productivity by 30% with Centric PLM®

Sportswear leader, Gymshark’s rapid growth put the company at risk of delays and errors. By implementing Centric Software’s cutting edge PLM teams are now connected and erros have been eliminated.

30% improvement in design productivity
100% remote implementation

“By working directly in PLM, the designers now have all their graphics saved in a library. This is major, as they never had a proper place to store their libraries before now and they were not able to attach the graphics to our previous Tech Packs.” — Justine McCarthy, Development Director at Gymshark

Challenges

  • Rapid company growth
  • Issues with version control
  • Teams constantly trying to find the latest information
  • Little or no supply chain visibility

Results

  • Design productivity improved by 30%
  • Communication between teams is seamless
  • Human error is greatly reduced
  • Remote working is fully supported
  • Increased agility & quicker decisions

Gymshark Begins PLM Journey

Sportswear giant Gymshark was growing rapidly, and as a result, the company was at risk of delays and errors due to multiple working documents being used simultaneously across departments. However, thanks to implementing Centric Software’s cutting edge PLM system, Gymshark is now benefitting from one single source of truth, with seamless communication between teams, and human error greatly reduced.

“Before Centric PLM, we were working in an old-fashioned way, using a million different Excel documents. Our teams were growing rapidly, so it was getting harder and harder to maintain consistency and know exactly what the latest version was.”

Justine McCarthy, Development Director at sportswear giant Gymshark explains that prior to embarking on their Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) project, employees were working within outdated and inefficient methods of communication such as spreadsheets and emails.

The Gymshark teams were growing rapidly, and as a result, the company was at risk of delays and errors due to multiple working documents being used simultaneously across departments. This complexity meant the young business was limited in terms of its agility, as valuable time and resources were being wasted with teams constantly trying to find and verify the latest information.

However, thanks to implementing Centric Software®’s #1 PLM, Gymshark is now benefitting from one single source of truth. Admin and communication between teams is seamless, and human error has been greatly reduced.

What’s more, Gymshark started its Global Analysis with Centric Software in January 2020, then the UK went into lockdown in March just as PLM training workshops had commenced. Therefore, all training, testing and implementation of Phase 1 was completed 100% remotely.

So how did Gymshark embark on its Centric PLM journey?

Keeping up With Unprecedented Growth

Founded in Birmingham in 2012 by then-teenager Ben Francis, and a group of his high-school friends, Gymshark has developed from a small screen-printing operation, to one of the fastest-growing and most recognisable brands in fitness. It specialises in functional training apparel, designing innovative performance technologies and building passionate, empowered conditioning communities. Named the UK’s fastest growing company 2016 in The Sunday Times Fast Track 100, Gymshark’s product team went from 44 to 125 people across the UK, Hong Kong and Mauritius in just two years. Selling directly to customers via 15 international online stores, the company currently has over 4 million customers in over 180 countries, and its social media content reaches an audience of over 12.5M.

Embracing Change and New Tech

Gymshark has a predominantly young, tech-savvy and digitally-native workforce, and the shift from the old-fashioned way of working to PLM was smooth and painless. Annalisa Savio, Head of Development at Gymshark, explains that the PLM project helped to guide teams to optimal working practices, and there was no resistance to adopting something new.

“Instead of something to be sceptical or afraid about, our teams have been like, ‘BRING IT ON!’”, says Savio, “they have wanted more and more.”

“When I spoke to other people in the industry who have adopted PLM, there always seemed to be a level of stress around it because it’s such a big change and it’s challenging managing that change. But at Gymshark, because of the mindset of the people we’ve got and also the perfect timing of the implementation, we approached it thinking: “We need this, we need this now…how quickly can we implement?’” adds McCarthy.

Empowering Remote Working

Gymshark selected Centric PLM in January 2020, and the UK experienced a nationwide lockdown a few months later, just as the project was entering its implementation phase. Savio explains that all training, testing and implementation of Phase 1 was completed with teams working from home, and now with PLM, there’s no limit to what they can achieve when working remotely.

“We initially could not envisage how we would implement during lockdown – I was concerned (the PLM project) would be delayed or that we might have to postpone,” she admits, “But thanks to the huge commitment and motivation from the teams, we went live with our critical path. The thought of another season with multiple Excel docs was too painful – this was the driving force behind making it happen!”

While there were challenges of coordinating Gymshark’s hands-on product department remotely – which requires touching product, fitting and measuring – for many projects, remote working was advantageous. For example, Gymshark found that with the launch of its PLM, the company saved time creating Tech Packs, as those working on them could focus more easily.

“I think the future will be a mix of both remote and office working,’ says McCarthy. “As a business (the pandemic) opened up our eyes to what we can do by introducing that flexibility. If we enter into another lockdown, and need to work remotely – our PLM will definitely facilitate the ease in which we share information.”

“Our teams actually found some ‘comfort’ out of PLM during the pandemic – they all found it useful to collaborate within the same platform, whilst working from home,“ adds Savio.

Increasing Productivity

Materials is at the epicentre of Gymshark’s product function, and this is where the company’s biggest pain points were. Yet, when speaking with the Head of Materials, McCarthy found that their teams were already experiencing significant increases in productivity thanks to Centric PLM.

In this early stage, we are seeing huge benefits in our Materials process, with an estimated 30% increase in productivity.

“Our lab dipping process was just painful,” she adds. “Our priority was to build these libraries and speed up this whole process. Our Head of Materials is one of the biggest advocates of everything we’ve done in PLM and his area is the one that involves the most complex processes.”

Creativity Flourishes With PLM

“Previously, whenever there were updates to sketches, there was an underlying frustration about where last versions were saved. Then you’d have to waste a lot of time and energy going around talking to everyone trying to understand what decisions were taken,” says McCarthy.

Designers can often be resistant to new systems such as PLM, because they want to focus on creativity and work within Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. But, according to Savio, the Gymshark designers experienced countless benefits when working within Centric PLM.

“By working directly in PLM, the designers now have all their graphics saved in a library. This is major, as they never had a proper place to store their libraries before now and they were not able to attach the graphics to our previous Tech Packs.”

McCarthy continues, “It runs much more seamlessly across all the functions now. There’s no question about what decision was made, who made it, and what the final outcome is. Designers are able to focus more energy on being creative and doing what they love.”

A Leaner, Smarter Business

Gymshark selected Centric PLM over other vendors because of its “out of the box” features. This was particularly important for Gymshark, and they were confident in Centric’s experience serving so many high-profile customers.

“For a new company like ours, it was very good to have the opinion of a leader like Centric, instead of setting up a new system completely from scratch,” says Savio.

“Who knows what’s around the corner – this pandemic just threw all industries into a different sphere, and it’s survival of the fittest. Centric PLM has opened our eyes as to how to be a leaner, smarter business,” concludes McCarthy.

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