A single source of data

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 16 September 2015
A single source of data

This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows

Dr. Martens is an iconic footwear and clothing brand with headquarters in the UK.

The company must continuously innovate in order to align with trends and remain competitive. Each time the company creates a new product line, it must track information for about 1,000 stock keeping units (SKUs).

“We have something like 1,000 SKUs live on our system at any one period of time,” says Mike Watson-Smith, sourcing director at Dr. Martens. “Because of seasonality, we are actually working on three seasons at any moment in time. We can be tracking 2,500 to 3,000 SKUs.”

Once a product line is approved, the company’s development team must ensure that the specification for each SKU is 100% accurate, before delivering them to the sourcing team, who then create the production specification.

However, the company found that during its design and product development processes, the tools and systems it had in place were not sufficient to handle the changes that naturally occur during the creative process. This was resulting in errors and miscommunications.

“As our business started to grow, we opened up to new suppliers, and we realised that when we sent them out the same information, either it wasn’t complete or it wasn’t consistent,” explains Nicola Pichel-Juan, sourcing systems manager at Dr. Martens. “We had various spreadsheets with different catalogues of trims and hundreds, if not thousands, of emails. So, if we were producing something in a factory, and there was a query, sometimes it could take hours to actually get to the piece of information and figure out what happened.”

In order to support their global operations, Dr. Martens selected Siemens’ Teamcenter software to create a single source of product data. 

“Teamcenter gave us the ability to track samples, costing, bills of materials for the factory,” says Watson-Smith. “There is a line-planning capability as well, which will help other parts of the business and integrate other parts of the business.”

The system was implemented with the support of Accenture, a systems integration alliance partner of Siemens PLM Software.

Dr. Martens now has better definition and more accurate data when it comes to product specification, with a level of detail that tracks each component and links it with suppliers. Staff can answer customer questions and establish key performance indicators for suppliers, resulting in improved product quality and lower costs.

“Teamcenter will up our competitiveness in terms of lead time and in terms of being able to innovate,” summarises Watson-Smith. “Teamcenter is one of the things that will allow us to stay relevant, to stay competitive, because it will allow us to improve our speed to market.”

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