“I believe that the core strength for a clothing brand is product power — in other words, product design and R&D. Since designers tend to be guided by their senses and artistic vision, we are happy that Centric PLM™ facilitates rational, strategic decisions based on facts.
By relying on creativity and data, we are enhancing our design efficiency and we can more accurately meet consumer demand.” As Ms. Liu Hua, Founder and Chairperson of HOPESHOW, explains, “We could not rise to market challenges with our basic R&D model of the past. Fashion brands need a digital R&D model to help design and R&D teams maximize their expertise, optimize business processes and improve work efficiency, while maintaining a balance of creativity and newness combined with voice of the customer.”
In 2018, HOPESHOW decided to introduce a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Centric PLM stood out from all other solutions on the market with its real-time online operations, visual interface and excellent synergy with other enterprise solutions. With Centric PLM, HOPESHOW has established a collaborative design and R&D platform that addresses every aspect of the product lifecycle from planning to retail. By making good use of knowledge and data accumulated over past decades, HOPESHOW has achieved higher efficiency in design and R&D and a shorter time to market.
HOPESHOW, founded in 1995, is a brand of the Hangzhou- headquartered Hongjin Fashion Group, a fashion enterprise engaged in design, R&D, production, sales and management. Targeting urban women aged 25–40, HOPESHOW designs a full line of stylish products that fit the lifestyles of “elegant, beautiful and low-key” modern women.
Ms. Liu Hua, HOPESHOW Founder and Group Chairperson, has been named one of the “Top 10 Fashion Designers in China”. Her pursuit of forward-thinking design has catalyzed the vitality and creative ideas that keep the brand ahead of the curve.
The group has several leading clothing brands for women, men and kids under its umbrella, including H’S, NEELLY, M.latin and GRSAGA. By offering consumers a range of aesthetic experiences through differentiated designs, the group aspires to stand out from competitors and lead China’s fashion industry. The group has a national sales network of 1,600+ outlets. It employs 4,000+ people and makes in excess of 10 million garments every year.
“The more designers are guided by their senses, the more creative ideas they come up with,” says Mr. Zhu Kefeng, E-commerce Director of HOPESHOW. “However, this usually pushes up design and R&D costs. I believed that design sensibilities could be shared more effectively. We needed a PLM system which would not only empower designers with rational judgment and better efficiency, but also tap into our existing data assets for future use.”
Speed and accuracy when the marketplace shifts is especially crucial for e-commerce. With Centric PLM in place, HOPESHOW expects that real-time sales data will be promptly fed back to design and R&D, enabling designers to retrieve data on previous successful products from the database. This will speed time to market and cut out unnecessary R&D spending.
Since it was founded 25 years ago, HOPESHOW has accrued a treasure trove of data on patterns, processes and materials, with some 300 styles available at the quarterly order-placing meeting.
However, habitual use of spreadsheets and email resulted in no rational system for managing historical data and made it difficult to search for information. The team also faced issues related to the timeliness and accuracy of data. Consequently, the design team spent a lot of time finding and checking data instead of focusing on creative work.
With Centric PLM in place, quarterly product data is stored in an orderly way. This makes it easier and quicker for designers to find and reuse information.
“Data visualization and sharing bring even more benefits,” says Ms. Zhou Xiaoping, Design Director of HOPESHOW. “Centric PLM provides us with a clear picture of our design accuracy, fabric utilization and usage of colors every season. The system makes our work truly efficient, accurate and convenient.”
HOPESHOW was previously unable to accomplish precise product planning. Each quarter, many styles were developed and silos existed between teams in R&D, resulting in the development of unoriginal products. As costs were manually calculated, and collating and updating data was time-consuming, this design and development work was not aligned with planning in a timely manner.
“Centric PLM allows all teams to track the entire development process of each style, right from design ideation and pattern making through to sample making and ordering,” explains Ms. Wang Xiulan, Product Director of HOPESHOW. “At any stage, delays or problems can be handled right away.”
Ms. Wang adds, “Centric PLM also gives us complete transparency on the detailed prices of fabric and trims. That helps us accurately estimate costs at the initial stage of development and ensure profit margins.”
“Basic data on materials, patterns and processes was scattered in the past,” says Ms. Song Zhiying, Information Director of HOPESHOW. “Preparing for a buying session would have taken us seven days. Today, within Centric PLM, that work can be completed in seconds with a simple click. For HOPESHOW, PLM is also a collaborative management system that links up data, different systems (such as ERP) and teams to facilitate efficiency across the board.”
In January 2019, the Centric team deployed Centric PLM at HOPESHOW in just four months (a month and a half earlier than planned).
The system was updated to the latest version in just over a year. Centric PLM has also been adopted by H’S, another brand of the group.
“We expect to put the solution to good use and further improve digital design and R&D processes at HOPESHOW, ” says Ms. Song Zhiying. “I am eager to try out new functions and Centric’s advanced applications for evaluating and reviewing planning, 3D renderings and more.”