As buying trips are canceled, physical meetings become a challenge and people scatter about their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, business decision-makers face the challenge of choosing and implementing new digital solutions under significant time and financial pressure. The new normal is now.
Responding to an urgent need for quick-to-deploy remote collaboration solutions for fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers, PLM market leader Centric Software® has launched three Centric 8 PLMTM Quick Start Collaboration Packages:
- The Sample Collaboration Packageis for companies new to digital working, with the facility to manage physical and 3D materials, product sample reviews and vendor quotes.
• The Vendor Collaboration Package is for existing Centric customers to connect vendors to Centric PLM for co-design, sample reviews, managing and evaluating RFQs, finalizing products and building assortments.
• The Buying Sessions Package is for brands and retailers, with or without PLM, to hold online buying sessions and develop global/regional/store assortments, get regional feedback and finalize product quantity commitments, all remotely.
Centric has years of remote project experience with 80% of PLM deployments occurring remotely anyway, pre-COVID.
Here are five ways Centric’s Quick Start Collaboration Packages drive critical operations such as sample reviews, design reviews, buying sessions and go-to-market meetings while respecting health guidelines on social distancing, remote working and travel.
1. Pre-configured packages are designed to go live, fast
Each Quick Start Collaboration Package can be deployed in days, rather than weeks or months. The packages are pre-configured and require no time-consuming customization to get up and running. Quick Start packages are cloud-based and SaaS, hosted by Centric, so that you can focus on seamlessly connecting teams and limiting disruption to gain critical oversight and change course swiftly as needed.
“Most of our employees are still working from home,” says Fanny Fan, from the merchandising department of Chinese fashion brand MAXRIENY. “Centric PLM greatly supports the normal operation of our business, and product development work has not been interrupted. Members of all departments can enter, view and share information online at any time using up-to-date data resources to ensure efficient collaboration. Our R&D teams can follow the progress of all samples in real time.”
2. Solutions designed for fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers
Like all of Centric Software’s PLM solutions, the Quick Start Collaboration Packages are built on a combination of Silicon Valley expertise, market-driven innovations and industry best practices for fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers.
Leveraging Centric Software’s extensive experience working with 1250+ global brands including Anta, PVH, Tory Burch, Superdry, Kering and Norrona, the Quick Start Collaboration Packages respond directly to the unique needs of businesses in this space to streamline operations, boost collaboration for globally dispersed teams, drive down costs and get products to market faster.
3. Support for remote working newbies
Many companies are working remotely for the first time or have only sporadic experience with this new way of working. The Sample Collaboration package is for product development, sourcing and merchandising teams in businesses that are new to remote working and do not have an existing PLM solution.
This package goes beyond emails, Powerpoint presentations, video conferencing, spreadsheets and cloud sharing apps with a remote working platform that gives users access to real-time information in a centralized ‘single source of the truth’ digital space for effective team collaboration and highly visual, data-driven decision-making.
The Sample Collaboration package digitizes physical and 3D materials, product sample reviews and vendor quote management. It incorporates innovations such as user-friendly mobile apps and connectors for industry-leading 3D solutions, and automatically guides users with industry best practices for common processes such as marking up samples in online reviews and taking product photos. With this comprehensive support, companies can confidently launch remote group collaboration.
4. Take vendor collaboration to the next level
Existing users of Centric 8 PLM will already be accustomed to working with team members in the same virtual space, but for many businesses, vendor collaboration and co-creation is still a process that has limited interaction with PLM. As travel to collaborate in-person with vendors has been severely curtailed, the Quick Start Vendor Collaboration package extends the functionality of Centric PLM to include supplier collaboration.
The Vendor Collaboration package enables remote product co-creation with vendors, streamlined online sample and quote approval and the facility to build and finalize assortment product details, prices, delivery and quantities. The package can be up and running in 1-3 weeks, keeping product development decisions continuous and fast. It supports complex and high-volume sourcing strategies with the ability to request quotes and respond to vendors en masse, compare cost scenarios efficiently and support multi-sourced and hybrid vendor co-creation and product development.
5. Ability to create virtual showrooms and buying sessions
The buying process is business-critical but is often firmly stuck in the world of physical showrooms and product samples. As businesses determine production commitments and their investment in raw materials or finished goods, a small increase in buying efficiency can have a major impact on revenues. It’s a collaborative stage that involves visual decision-making and great attention to detail, which can be difficult to achieve in a digital environment.
Whether or not a business already has a PLM solution in place, Centric’s Quick Start Buying Sessions package can be deployed to develop global, regional and store assortments, get regional feedback, finalize product quantity commitments and more in a highly visual and fully digital manner, regardless of where teams are based.
Powered by Centric Visual Innovation Platform (CVIP) technology, the Buying Session package replaces in-person buying meetings with highly visual digital boards that enable central merchandisers to upload data and images for global assortment products, stores, regions and sales targets using an Excel template. Regional buyers can build their assortments and budgets using up-to-date data and finalize selections during online buying sessions, with detailed analytics and visualized assortments to support better decision-making. Final style and quantity commitments are exported seamlessly to the supply chain planning system.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
For fashion brands, retailers and manufacturers, the world never stands still. However, current events are like nothing the industry has ever experienced. To minimize disruption and react with agility to the market, businesses need to ensure that employees have the right digital tools to effectively replace in-person and physical processes. It’s a difficult transition for some, but innovations such as Centric’s Quick Start Collaboration packages are designed to make it as smooth as possible.