yutori Improves Product Procurement Efficiency with Centric PLM®

yutori, a Japanese vintage-fashion start-up selects Centric PLM to streamline information and processes.

We believe that Centric PLM is the best solution to achieve our goal of visualizing procurement status and sharing product plans with our team. — Kazuma Senoguchi, Executive Vice President at yutori Inc.

Challenges

  • Procurement process was inefficient
  • Exchange of data internally & with suppliers was slow
  • Lacked a clear process for sharing information with suppliers
  • Required a solid foundation to support overseas expansion

Results

  • Information is consolidated in one place
  • Data sharing with suppliers is faster
  • Procurement process is more efficient
  • Data errors have been reduced
  • Trackable transaction records

“The biggest problem was that the exchange of information had become complicated and the information was scattered in multiple locations. This meant that data was not being shared efficiently within the company or between teams, including suppliers, which was a major challenge.”

Kenshiro Aoshima, Manager of yutori, Inc., describes the challenges associated with sharing information before the introduction of Centric PLM. Business processes using spreadsheets, email and chat were making it difficult to keep up with the speed of a rapidly growing company.

Fast forward just three months, and yutori now has one consolidated place for all product information. Up-to-date information can be shared with suppliers and the business has greatly improved its operational efficiency.

Expanding Japanese Fashion Company

Founded in June 2018, yutori forms one of the largest vintage clothing communities in Japan, “Furugi Girls”, and is involved in multiple brands such as “9090”, “genzai”, “PAMM”, and “F-LAGSTUF-F”, as well as other businesses that target young adults in their teens and 20s. In 2020, the company entered into a capital and business alliance with ZOZO Corporation, operator of the fashion online shopping site ZOZOTOWN, to create new synergies by collaborating on product manufacturing and inventory management in the apparel business.

The company has developed several fashion brands based on the D2C (Direct to Consumer) business format, in which it consistently conducts everything from product planning to sales in-house without intermediary distributors or retailers, and is achieving rapid growth.

yutori previously used a variety of tools, including e-mail and chat, to exchange information on product planning, quotations, orders, and delivery within the company and with suppliers. yutori develops a large number of products in collaboration with suppliers, primarily textile trading companies, and sells them online. However, as the firm expanded, so did the number of suppliers, the amount and diversity of data handled and the company became aware of the limitations of its conventional communication methods.

“In the beginning, we input data related to products into Excel spreadsheets and stored them on a file server for operational management. The biggest problem was that the information was scattered in multiple locations. This meant that information was not being shared efficiently within the company or between teams, including suppliers, which was a major challenge.” Mr. Aoshima describes the situation of information sharing before the introduction of PLM.

Outgrowing Traditional Working Methods

As yutori expanded, the number of suppliers increased, as did the volume and variety of data. The company realized the limitations of its traditional communication methods which included e-mails and chats to exchange its data on product planning, quotations, orders and delivery.

In addition to streamlining business processes, yutori needed to strengthen its internal controls and data maintenance in anticipation of future IPOs and overseas expansion. The business sought a solution to meet these challenges.

“We needed a system that could consolidate and centrally manage scattered information. When running an apparel business, it’s essential to have a platform for sharing information with suppliers, such as product specification data, quantities and costs, so that all parties are always on the same page. We knew Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) would make this possible,” Yusuke Sato, COO and Product Development Lead at yutori Inc., explains.

Selecting the Best Fit PLM

After deciding that PLM was essential for more efficient information sharing and to enhance the speed and control of product procurement, yutori immediately began researching various PLM solutions on the market. Centric Software’s PLM solution stood out from the beginning due to its leading position in the fashion industry and the company’s extensive experience in global implementations.

“Centric Software was working with many large companies and popular global brands. yutori aims to grow from a start-up to a leading DTC brand and it was clear that Centric would be an excellent partner to help us achieve that,”  says Mr. Aoshima.

When we first saw the demo, we were amazed at how customizable it was. We looked at several other solutions, but Centric PLM was the only one that could flexibly accommodate our needs as the company progressed through phases of business expansion.

Full System Implementation in 3 Months

After deciding to adopt Centric PLM, yutori started the project in early January 2022, and completed the implementation of the PLM system in only five weeks. Centric PLM went live, just three months after the project started.

Mr. Aoshima describes some of the challenges encountered during the project, “We were aiming to create a data management system with the vision of a future IPO in mind, so we had to make sure that the PLM was in harmony with the requirements we wanted to achieve onsite. It took some time to make that adjustment, but we were able to make fast progress in data development and build a solid information infrastructure.”

Regarding the project schedule, Mr. Aoshima adds, “We gave Centric Software a very tight schedule to complete the development of the system within three months and have it ready for everyone to use. We are very pleased that we were able to go live on time and within budget.”

Centric Software’s Agile Deployment℠ methodology enabled the project to go live quickly. Mr. Sato reflects on the process, “I had never been involved in system development before, so this was my first experience with agile development methods, where requirements are defined and then upgraded as the system is used. I was honestly surprised at the speed at which we were able to move forward with the project.”

Mr. Aoshima also praised the skills of Centric Software’s consultants and Centric PLM’s features, “During the system implementation phase, they immediately implemented our requirements in the system the same day it was communicated, or the next day. We were deeply impressed by the overwhelming speed and configurability of Centric PLM.”

Results of Centric PLM

With the introduction of Centric PLM, information such as product specifications, pricing and quantities are now consolidated and centrally managed in one system.

“The biggest benefit of Centric PLM is that we are able to consolidate information both internally and with our suppliers, which allows us to smoothly procure products. Previously, information on the same product was scattered across different departments so we had to check each department individually to find out which data was the most up-to-date. Now that the information is all in one place, we can immediately find everything we need including the status of products, and trust that it is accurate. It has saved us a lot of time and greatly improved our operational efficiency.” Mr. Sato comments.

“Centric PLM is a great tool for us,” says Kazuma Senoguchi, Executive Vice President of yutori, Inc. “We believe that Centric PLM is the best solution to achieve our goal of visualizing procurement status and sharing product plans with our team. We are confident that the ability to track transaction records and communication with suppliers will enable us to reduce risk by eliminating the human error that has traditionally occurred in our operations, and we expect to be able to integrate and consistently execute operations from product planning to procurement on the PLM system.”

Aiming for Further Growth and Expansion into Overseas Markets

“We have built the PLM system mainly for efficiently sharing information with suppliers, but in the future, we plan to use it for product planning as well. We are looking forward to growing the company by creating more brands and further expanding sales,” says Mr. Aoshima.

Mr. Sato adds, “When we expand our business overseas, we want to create an environment where we can share information without discrepancies, just as we do in Japan. We are confident that Centric PLM, which boasts a proven track record in global operations, will support us in this endeavor.”

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