An established children's apparel manufacturer and licensed apparel importer is experiencing year over year growth after a major licensing acquisition.
Across its divisions, there is no common process nor solution that effectively manages or automates new collections and or programs. Every new season or opportunity means that new product introduction or creation, requires starting from scratch, which means there are errors, no common or standardized products to reference or reuse.
Design lunch and learn Goal:
Through a recently large acquisition, the leadership has heard that there are solutions called PLM solutions that can address this problem.
However they have also heard first hand that many of these solutions are expensive, look great in a demo but when you use them are complex to use, take more than 6 months to finally implement but the main issue for design is that it becomes an obstacle not an enabler.
The leadership doesn't want to take on additional risk and disruption so they had heard about StycheCo 's Social Product Development Lunch and Learn series.
So we wanted to get 4 designers and graphic artists on 3 laptops to participate in an 3 hour design session and at the end ask them an important question.
" is this tool going to help design be more creative, efficient and productive ?"
" on a scale of 1-10 , 1 being you absolutely see no value in using it and 10 being that you can't see yourself NOT using it, what score would you give?"
Color palette Creation
Raw Material Library
Inspiration, Artwork and Sketch Library
TechPack and Style Creation - Adobe CAD, Design Detail Sketches, Artwork and Graphic Details.
Format / Methodology:
Leading up to the hands on design session we met with the head of both design and production who has been with the company for 25 years. We reviewed the current state. Following the prep meeting we also received two techpacks which represented the licensing as well as their own brand business.
The next day with the knowledge of their current process and techpacks, we prepared their instance in a cloud environment.
The next day we were ready to have our Social Product Development - Design Lunch & Learn. The designers would be have an opportunity, with no previous training, to get on 3 to 4 laptops and in the end tell us what they think.
The agenda was the following.
10 minute introduction
50 minute overview
1 hour hands on session
30 minute NYC Pizza and Salad Break
"Super easy to use"
"It was fast"
"The user interface looks clean easy to use"
"Smart Adobe Artboard Integration was really great"
"Wow it looks and behaves so much like Adobe and excel we're friends"
"This would cut down on so much internal emails"
"We would be able to re-use or copy styles and just change the artwork"
"We could share trims / labels instead of typing the same component in 50 tech packs across divisions and categories"
"The style colorway BOM was so easy to use we could work directly there"
"The line sheet feature would be an 11"
"We can now see trend ideas and get feedback from sales directly and share a common feed"
"Uploading large files wasn't an issue it was pretty fast"
" The auto revisions section was really great. Now internally and the factory can get clarity on what was changed "
"We created three teckpacks with no previous training"
Now that everyone of the designers had a chance to work on the platform - we asked them if they are comfortable answering our questions. And they enthusiastically agreed.
Unanimously they all agreed it would indeed help design be more efficient and productive. Given they would still need to sketch, create call outs for style color ways and fabric details - that work won't go away. However all the manual jpg creation, emails back and forth with internal teams and factories, departmental excel based tracking charts & higher quality of style information, would create more time for design to do what they do best - design.
"On a scale of 1-10 , 1 being you absolutely see no value in using it and 10 being that you can't see yourself NOT using it, what score would you give?"
8, 8, 7 & 10 = an average of 8.25 out of 10. We were pleasantly surprised and so were the designers!
We obviously thanked everyone for their contribution in this first breakthrough session and provided a way for them to keep the conversation and momentum of learning going.
As much as we discussed technology and techpacks it really wasn't about either of those. It was really about being more effective internally and externally and this starts with you and your team. The technology absolutely plays a major role as an enabler and as a platform to share data and digital assets between processes and other technology and we all learned plenty today.
If you or your department / company want to host your own Social Product Development - Lunch & Learn contact me at email@example.com. We are also hosting 3D fashion design and product development series as well.
Down below, I decided to share comments the design team had during the lunch and learn. These comments were a reference to their previous experience with your typical enterprise PLM. Here are some of what was shared in our session, which we can all learn from.
Historical comments - design perspective on PLM:
"I was really nervous about this meeting because PLM in my last company was so inefficient. It took longer for me to do what I needed as a designer and I had less time to be creative"
"Coming into this I thought it was another PLM session, like I experienced in my last company. However, I was pleasantly surprised. You can see this is way easier to use & design can work directly in the system where all the comments, Adobe illustrator files, communication and collaboration are"
"In my last company, we had to convert every one of our Aí files to .jpgs in order to get them into the system. It was crazy"
"In my last company all the agents and vendors complained it took to long to access the system and the files would take so long to download. In the end we still had to make CD's for them and send via DHL"
"In the past, PLM took months to implement. Just to build a fabric library, in my previous company, took an entire team to build it and by the time the designers were told to use it, it took so long just to find your fabric that you would forget what fabric you were looking for and you would end up getting frustrated, and just create a new one. After a month we had so many versions of the same thing."
"Our previous PLM system was so complex, it had so many buttons and icons on a page, that we would never use. However sometimes you just had to click on some of these just to get to where you had to go - it made no sense"
"In my last company you could NOT just add a fabric or a color to fabric in the style colorway BOM. You had to find the fabric in the library, go to the color area of the fabric, find the color from the color library, select the colors, then go back to the style colorway and select the color. It was so many steps just to add a color to a colorway page"
" I remember a few years ago we all had to go and travel to a retailer, who was implementing a new PLM system and learn how to add materials and styles to this new system. We were so confused by the complexity and time it would take us to enter all of our products and materials into that system. It just wasn't easy at all, not to mention the performance of the system was really slow. "
StycheCo is an advocate, adviser and change agent for global and start up fashion lifestyle brands and retailers. We breaking down obstacles and walls and build / deploy processes and technology to achieve a more sustainable, holistic digital approach to product creation for every stakeholder in the product creation value chain.