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“ Our target was clear — we had to digitalize processes, drive efficiencies and decrease operating costs. ” — Oliver Hein, Chief Operating Officer at S.Oliver
2023 marks the third year of the German fashion company, S.OLIVER GROUP’s Centric Software® PLM project. The fashion company has ongoing targets to connect physical and chemical testing processes to Centric PLM™, have their top 100 vendors integrated and conduct every step of the quality inspection process in PLM. Three years into their PLM launch, the S.OLIVER GROUP has drastically reduced costs, streamlined processes and further digitalized their business.
“Working with the Centric tools means not only working more efficiently, but also working on our mindset”, says Oliver Hein, Chief Operating Officer at S.OLIVER GROUP. “Process thinking, cooperation and trust are key success factors for implementation and daily use.”
In the midst of pandemic lockdowns in 2020, German fashion company S.OLIVER GROUP implemented Centric Software’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution in just 4 months, to 900 users — completely remotely. Since harnessing the power of Centric PLM’s 3D technology, Quality Testing and Product Presentation modules, the S.OLIVER GROUP has digitalized their business and achieved results in creative output, streamlined processes, decreased costs and enhanced product quality.
Prior to discovering Centric PLM, the company was looking to replace a decade-old legacy system, but the caveat was they had to move quickly. Despite the pandemic, teams at S.OLIVER GROUP and Centric Software quickly mobilized and worked in small groups, remotely to workshop and iterate the Centric PLM deployment.
“Our teams defined short sprints between two to three weeks, reconvened for sprint reviews, and then iterated,” explains Hein. “It was quite challenging, but at the end of the day, we had a big bang success.”
The S.OLIVER GROUP chose Centric PLM for its out-of-the-box capabilities and functionality to harmonize processes across four brands. At the beginning of 2023, the company seamlessly implemented Centric PLM’s latest version 7.5 and successfully rolled out the Quality Testing and Product Presentation modules.
How does the S.OLIVER GROUP use Centric PLM to revolutionize the end-to-end product journey from ideation to customer and radically decrease operating costs?
With 3D technology, S.OLIVER GROUP has been able to discard the costly, and time-consuming processes of creating physical samples, manual work, shipping and customs costs and photo shoots. In 2022, there was a significant reduction of physical styles, and they plan to increase that number year over year.
S.OLIVER GROUP shares that the most significant implementation challenge was to move design and sales teams from 2D to 3D innovation, and they put in the leg-work to shift the company culture and bring teams on side.
“So far, our design and sales teams have accepted and adopted new processes,” comments Hein. “There is a strategy involved in rolling out a new system and ways of working and there is a mindset and culture in companies, and you have to bring this together.”
Three years into their Centric PLM project, the company has managed to integrate 80 of their top 100 vendors into the system and plan to have all 100 integrated by the end of 2023. Simplified workflows, time savings and cost-savings have been achieved.
Centric PLM has empowered S.OLIVER GROUP to deepen their relationships with top vendors and do away with spreadsheets and email.
“We had to change our mindset on working with vendors and get them on board with Centric PLM quickly,” says Hein.
S.OLIVER GROUP has digitalized their end-to-end product development journey with Centric PLM and the power of 3D technology, Quality Testing and Product Presentation modules.
Today, the design kick-off process happens in 3D with designers creating digital, rather than physical mood boards. With the fully integrated Product Presentation module, fulfilling requests from brands can be updated immediately, whereas the process used to take two to three days. Teams can create templates that can be re-used for look books and color ways. Drag and drop functionality rapidly speeds processes and seasonal changes have been streamlined.
When it comes to quality testing, S.OLIVER GROUP has streamlined the process with all data saved in Centric PLM. “We’ve been able to optimize testing costs by doing away with licensing fees for our former chemical testing database,” says Tobias Killer, Head of Quality Assurance at S.OLIVER GROUP. “When we have one material used by different vendors in different countries and they need to test for restricted substances, PLM optimizes test scopes.”
Most of S.OLIVER GROUP’s wholesale franchise businesses order everything through a B2B system. Although the sales force is on the path of digital transformation, this process has also been radically streamlined. Already, S.OLIVER GROUP is realizing time savings by having all codes and numbers stored in PLM, with no need for duplicated entries and manual work. While sales teams still present new and innovative material and fabric samples in the showroom, the path to fully digitalize sales is set.
Centric PLM has been a revolutionary tool for S.OLIVER GROUP’s B2C sales as well. Because all product data is stored in one central repository, and changes are made in real time, the product information stored in PLM is easily transferred to marketing, sales, social media and end consumer channels.
“In a nutshell, our process from end-to-end is managed mainly through Centric PLM,” says Hein. “We have a clear target to use one point of entry for data and not have redundant data living in different systems.”