“Today, considering the benefits we get every day from this innovative technology, I can say that the solution is worth the financial investment faced by the company, and I would have no doubt if I had to buy it again.”
Manifattura Valcismon, a family-owned company currently run by their third generation, was created by Olindo Cremonese in 1946 in Fonzaso, near Belluno, Italy, as a wool spinning business. Later in the late 1970’s, under the guidance of Giordano Cremonese, a sports fanatic and an expert cross-country skier, the company started to manufacture technical sportswear.
After deciding to ski in the Marcialonga cross-country competition and realizing how unsuitable the equipment was for the freezing winter climate, Giordano Cremonese decided to design and produce a ski suit using the latest generation of acrylic fabrics, and he added the “Sportful” logo. While Giordano Cremonese did not win the competition, he was nonetheless successful, as his exclusive sportswear was so well-received that he launched the Sportful brand in 1972 and opened a new era for Manifattura Valcismon.
In 2003, Manifattura Valcismon started to make inroads into the cycling business with the acquisition of Castelli, a historical brand that had dressed many champions. 2010 was another major milestone, with the creation of the Karpos brand, which further propelled the company in the outdoor segment presenting a new range of fresh and colorful technical wear with a different fit.
“When it comes to product development, apart from the internal synergy in sourcing and production operations, our three brands, Sportful, Castelli and Karpos, are managed as three independent business units, each with a team of designers and product specialists.
Currently, we launch eight collections per year, including seasonal and capsule collections, and produce about two million items resulting in approximately €90 million in revenue per year. We have a global presence wherever our sports are practiced, and we distribute our products through our subsidiaries and via agents in the US, Canada, China, Germany, Austria and also in Spain where we distribute Sportful,” said Alessio Cremonese, CEO of Manifattura Valcismon.
The growth of Manifattura Valcismon in production volume and staff, as well as development and manufacturing sites, has made it necessary for the company to adopt advanced IT tools that could support smooth collaboration across several countries, align the teams across the entire development process and keep the company on track with its expansion strategies.
Manifattura Valcismon needed a strong and reliable digital foundation to centralize and streamline product information, achieve transparency and improve communications. After testing software from different vendors and seeing several demos, Centric PLM for Outdoor and Sports was a no-brainer for the company.
“We were immediately impressed by the flexibility and ease of use of Centric PLM and we realized that it was the ideal solution to manage a business like ours,” said Manuela Zancanaro, Technical Manager at Manifattura Valcismon. “After the decision, we reviewed all the information we had to import into the system. Although we knew that Centric Outdoor PLM could cover the entire product life cycle, from concept to retail, we decided to prioritize the elements we needed most, such as company/personal data, materials, bills of materials and technical spec sheets.”
“From the start, all internal departments that were destined to work with the PLM system, including product and marketing, received vital support from the Centric Software team,” Manuela added. “Thanks to our close collaboration with Centric’s team of highly qualified experts who know our industry well, we were able to uncover valuable insights on how to transform operations in order to optimize our use of PLM.”
Following the implementation of Centric PLM, product information is no longer fragmented and scattered; it is transparent, visually accessible and constantly updated. Having one single source of truth that all teams can refer to, anywhere, anytime, across all time zones, has streamlined collaboration within the organization and accelerated the entire product development process, resulting in a speedier time-to-market and improved capabilities to respond to market demand.
“We have improved speed by managing things digitally that used to be done by hand,” Manuela said. “The best example is raw materials. We use a wide range of raw materials. With Centric PLM, we can upload pictures of materials and fabrics into the system, associating them with the corresponding codes. This way, we can immediately retrieve information that, in the past, we could only acquire by visiting the warehouse and picking a physical sample from the code listed in an Excel spreadsheet.
Also, with this system, information is always available to all the teams of our three business units, in real-time. All you have to do is log into the program, type a code, and there you see the picture, right before your eyes. You can add comments and annotations to share with others, wherever they are, without moving from your desk.”
Transitioning from a manual to a digital process has helped Manifattura Valcismon increase data accuracy and significantly reduce input errors and duplicate work and data. With one single source of truth, their product development teams no longer have to manage costs and prices in separate files: everything can be found in Centric PLM. Another key factor that fueled the adoption of Centric PLM was ease of use.
Alessio Cremonese said. “As soon as you realize that the new technology tools are not an additional burden, that they actually simplify your job and daily tasks, you are more willing to change. The ease of use of Centric PLM and its immediate benefits have been essential for successful deployment and for the next steps we are already planning.
With an “executive sponsorship” approach, based on the strong belief that technological innovation is an essential prerequisite to support the growth of a company, this transition has become an opportunity to strengthen our team, involving business owners, executives and department managers. I am confident to say that adoption has been enthusiastic, immediate and widespread, to such an extent that we can hardly believe we worked without Centric PLM before!”
Even in emergency situations such as the recent lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital transformation process undertaken by Manifattura Valcismon has turned out to be a success. Today, with 40% of their employees still working remotely, the company is just slightly below its full operating capacity, as Centric PLM ensures that all users are constantly aligned and can collaborate as if they were sitting at their office desks.
“We needed to tap into the source of information directly and leverage our data,” Alessio Cremonese continued. “From an enterprise perspective, having a central repository of information is a tangible asset, as it eliminates the issue of ‘individual data owners’ and the resulting unavailability when the owner is on holiday or away.”
“Centric Outdoors PLM plays a key role in the transformation of our operating methods, helping us meet the current and future needs of our company and laying solid foundations for our growth. Today, considering the benefits we get every day from this innovative technology, I can say that the solution is worth the financial investment faced by the company, and I would have no doubt if I had to buy it again.”