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Fox Head to grow with Centric 8 system

01
Sep '10
Fox Head, Inc., the international brand of motocross gear and action sports apparel, has selected Centric Software, Inc., to provide its product lifecycle management (PLM) system.

The California-based company, whose product line includes performance apparel, protection and lifestyle clothing, has purchased Centric's Product Specification, Sourcing, Calendar Management and Line Planning modules.

According to Janet Barber, vice president of product development and production, the Centric 8 system replaces an existing product data management (PDM) system, and will be used to improve product information management, efficiency, and gross margins throughout the entire development process of its complex products.

Selection process
Barber points to a situation common to many fast-moving consumer goods companies to explain Fox's decision to pursue PLM. “Fox has momentum and potential for growth. Yet the pace of our growth, current and future, was faster than our ability to manage our information with our existing system. Centric's PLM provides the functionality we need to capture the opportunities at hand.”

Fox chose Centric after evaluating at least half a dozen alternatives, according to Barber. The company based its decision on several factors, including Centric's understanding of the apparel market, and ease of use. “I am excited about Centric because it's so user-friendly and doesn't require my team to go to computer science school,” Barber says. “You can't underestimate how critical that is to user adoption and ultimately to overall system success.”

Centric's out-of-the-box capabilities also were important to Fox. “It's the difference between buying a ready-to-go application made for my industry, versus buying a toolkit that – given the right amount of resources – can handle any product type,” says Barber. “We needed a solution geared for what our business needs were, not what the whole world needs. With Centric, we can deploy faster, get the information we need faster, and start getting benefits faster.”

Leaving a PDM and “spreadsheet world” behind
Previously Fox used a PDM system for product information, but also “lived in a spreadsheet world,” to track critical product development information – including sizing, costing, suppliers, compliance, calendars and gross margins – that fell outside the capabilities of the PDM system. Multiple divisions, responsible for multiple products, each with up to four seasons a year, created a situation where, Barber says, “we were drowning in spreadsheets” to get the job done. Product information was stored throughout the company's computer network in myriad drives. Fox's broad range of action sports products – ranging from T-shirts to extremely technical and complex protection products – made this environment especially challenging.

Centric's PLM system, providing one, single “source of truth” about product details and cost information, will help team members get their hands on accurate information more quickly, and speed accurate product decision-making, says Barber. Centric's web-based system will integrate with the company's ERP system, Barber adds. With Centric 8's focus on product development, and ERP handling the sales inventory side of the business, “we've got the best of both worlds.”


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