“We have increased accuracy in costing, improved sampling one time through rate by 80% and reduced the time spent preparing materials to create samples.”
- Mingkwan Lotharukpong, Product Development Division Manager, VT Garment
“Like many manufacturers, we were facing intense pressure to increase speed to market without impacting our high quality standards. We needed to free up time spent on administration and non-value-added tasks so that we could concentrate on making the best products for our customers at a more efficient pace.”
Mingkwan Lotharukpong, Product Development Division Manager at VT Garment, explains that teams at this leading textile manufacturer were struggling to balance the demands of compressed timelines, data administration and spent too much time focusing on process instead of working on products.
VT Garment is an innovative company that prides itself on investing in modern technologies to grow the business and it became clear that their teams needed to increase their digital capabilities. VT Garment is market leader and was the first company in Thailand to choose Centric Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in 2018. They have never looked back since then.
Today, VT Garment has shortened development lead times, improved accuracy in costing and gained visibility into sampling materials, streamlined communication across departments and reduced time spent on data entry and administration. How did Centric PLM bring about this transformation at VT Garment?
Founded in 1981, VT Garment Co. Ltd is an innovative designer and world- class manufacturer of outerwear and sportswear for top global brands including Patagonia, Jack Wolfskin, Montbell, O’Neill and many others from the United States and Europe. VT Garment is a leader in Thailand’s textile manufacturing industry and employs over 3,000 people across its two manufacturing facilities in Thailand and Myanmar. Every month, VT Garment produces around 185,000 units of functional and non-functional garments such as ski jackets and pants, boardshorts, polyester padded jackets, woven jackets and pants, knitted jackets and medical-grade isolation gowns with inhouse decoration including screenprint, pad point, seam seal, laser cutting, welding, ultrasonic cutting, embossing and embroidery.
In addition to its award-winning quality and craftsmanship, VT Garment takes pride in being one of the largest OEM/ODM companies in the world to have earned Fair Trade certification advocating better wages and working conditions, local sustainability and environmental protection. The company has enthusiastically adopted digital technologies, including a company-wide enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and a state-of-the-art digital manufacturing execution system that enables machine connectivity and real-time productivity monitoring.
In response to increasing pressure from the market to reduce lead times without compromising on quality, VT Garment needed to streamline processes across the organization and cut time spent on data entry, duplicated work and administration in order to focus more directly on product-related activities. VT Garment followed their principle of investing in the best enterprise technologies for their business and began the search for a PLM solution.
“We had long lead times during our development processes, which was a major challenge,” explains Lotharukpong. “There was too much emphasis on process, rather than products. We wanted a PLM solution to achieve one single source of truth across our operations and remove data duplication. With Centric PLM, we’ve reduced lead time by 7% by saving time that used to be spent organizing data. Overall we have increased productivity by 30% because we freed up resources for action and gained visibility into timelines and activities across the whole organization.”
VT Garment considered several PLM vendors, but eventually selected Centric PLM on the basis of Centric Software®’s industry experience and the user-friendly features of the solution. As Lotharukpong says, “We selected Centric PLM because they have many references from previous implementations and experienced consultants who understand the apparel business. They offer out- of-the-box solutions with no customization yet full configuration and the user interface of Centric 8 resembles an Excel format, which is familiar to our teams.
”We were very happy with the Agile Deployment℠ process as it enabled us to visualize and learn about the system quickly,” says Lotharukpong. “We worked with the Centric team in India, who are very responsive and really understand our business. The consultants are professional, provide solutions to every scenario we face and always respond within 24 hours.”
Since going live with Centric PLM in 2019, VT Garment is enjoying better collaboration across departments, faster time to market and more transparent communication.
“Centric PLM has changed our way of working. Employees can concentrate more on the product and offering services to customers, rather than data entry and click-work,” says Lotharukpong. “Centric has streamlined communication between departments and made our users’ lives easier. With the real-time single source of truth that PLM provides, we have standardized the product development process and removed the problem of duplicate data entry. Implementing Centric has enabled us to shorten lead times, align internal processes and clearly communicate expectations so we can focus more on our products.”
The company is particularly impressed by features in Centric PLM that handle sampling, materials and timelines.
“It’s easier to plan actions and manage sample stock,” says Lotharukpong.
“We’re using the Product Specification module, which helps communicate technical requirements and Bills of Material (BOMs) across the organization from sampling to preparation for bulk,” Lotharukpong continues. “The Materials Management module enables us to source across many suppliers in our database and manage new and existing materials that interface with our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. Product Sourcing reduces the time we used to spend re-entering BOMs in costing sheets, and also cuts data entry errors.”
“Calendar Management is critical. Before we implemented Centric PLM, merchandising managers had to remember and remind merchandisers when they needed to complete each task in the product development lifecycle. As a result, tasks would get forgotten or delayed. Now, users are reminded automatically and can see exactly what tasks lie ahead of them.”
VT Garment and Centric have a productive working partnership and now that VT Garment is successfully up and running with Centric PLM, teams will work together on the integration between Centric PLM and their ERP system.
“We’re looking forward to the additional efficiency and productivity the integration between PLM and ERP will bring and know the Centric team will continue to provide the same high-level of customer service now and into the future,” concludes Lotharukpong.
“The Centric team is professional to work with and there’s a positive energy between Centric and VT Garment. We know we have the support of Centric.”