Lessons Learned from 2020
2020 has been fraught with market disruptions—from Covid-19, to forest fires to tariffs to political unrest. But from every situation, there is knowledge to be garnered. To that end, we talked with Colleen Grass, Sales Director at Centric Software. Based out of San Diego, CA with 20+ years in fashion, consumer goods and enterprise software, she gives her take on lessons learned.
Lesson 1: Future-proof your business with digital technology
Colleen Grass: In speaking with C-levels at many companies, 2020 introduced challenges that no one had ever even considered. Deep areas of weakness were exposed. People scrambled to adjust in every area. Halting travel impacted all aspects of the product development process—design briefs, fit reviews, merchandising & planning sessions, and everything that is typically handled with a touch-and-feel approach came to a standstill.
Further, information living in someone’s laptop, in a spreadsheet, or scribbled in a notebook, was lost when employees left the company due to furloughs or personal reasons. People who may have been on the fence about adopting technology, especially due to price, suddenly realize that the cost of trying to do business without the right tools in place, was essentially costing them everything.
Lesson 2: Be prepared
Colleen Grass: Companies who fared best were those who already catered to at-home activities like cooking and home improvement, or those whose products fell into work-related, outdoor, fitness, health & beauty categories. For example, we saw massive upticks in athleisure brands and outdoor gear.
Companies struggling the most are those not able to pivot quickly due to a lack of digital tools, like Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), among other factors.
Brands approaching the new normal with a digital mindset, are winning. They can see trends, lower their risk for exposure and make adjustments in minutes instead of days—critical factors when faced with crisis. Competition is fierce and small missteps can make the difference in hitting revenue targets.
Lesson 3: Rethink your sourcing strategy
Colleen Grass: Successful brands are diversifying globally and investing in technology that allows them to work smarter, not harder. Adopting easy solutions like Centric’s vendor portal, facilitates communication with their factories digitally, score-carding them for accuracy, turn-around and pricing. Apps like our fit-review offer a seamless and instant flow of changes, back to the product team, ultimately getting product to market faster with fewer mistakes along the way.
Embracing digital touch-screen boards, like our first-to-market Centric Visual Innovation Platform (CVIP), has transformed planning and buying to the modern age.
Colleen Grass: Manufacturers implementing tech like PLM improve communication with their customers. They can respond more quickly, meeting budget and specifications, with fewer revisions along the way. Increasing efficiencies by upward of 50%, reducing costs by 15%, and overall better use of fabrics and trims, means less impact on the environment.
Do you have questions for Colleen? Get your own personalized answer to anything you may want to know surrounding PLM and digital transformation for consumer goods, fashion, home and retail.