s.Oliver and ENOVIA Version 6: A single version of the truth
Looking at his screen at the s.Oliver head office in Rottendorf, Germany, the designer views the results of his work: a women’s coat in a camel cashmere-wool blend with a sophisticated hand-stitched seam. The design is complete, the size charts are ready, several sketches have been filed and the detailed order list created. In just a few clicks, the software generates a “worksheet” based on his previous entries, containing all the information necessary to create the pattern for the garment. He has to move quickly because the coat will be on sale in s.Oliver stores worldwide in just a few weeks.
14,000 kilometers away in Hong Kong, an agency employee receives a notification on her monitor that the worksheet associated to the new coat from the women’s collection is available on the system. She calls up the information on which a series of decisions depends: Who will produce the goods? What materials must be ordered and which suppliers are to be used? The task of the agency employee is to establish the exact pattern requested by the designer in Rottendorf.
In the course of their work, both the s.Oliver designer and the agency employee can access the product-related information – from dimensions, materials and colors to supplier information – in real time via the Internet using a single collaboration platform: the PLM solution ENOVIA Version 6 from Dassault Systèmes. Around 300 users in Germany and over 550 worldwide are already using ENOVIA together — product managers, designers and engineers in Germany and merchandising and logistics staff in s.Oliver in-house agencies in Asia and Turkey develop and market over 15,000 styles a year.
Transparency as a competitive factor
“The textile industry is based on globally distributed development, manufacturing and logistics processes,” explains Henry Taubald, managing director operations at s.Oliver. Other challenges include ever-shorter product cycles and ever-changing trends. Controlling these demands via separate systems such as e-mail, Excel, and the local product data management systems, has proven increasingly inefficient in recent years. Integrated software available across all sites was required, designed primarily to create the necessary transparency for all parties: “Especially for an international company like s.Oliver, integrated and open collaboration is a decisive competitive factor,” says Taubald.
“This applies both to exchanges within the enterprise and with external partners and suppliers,” Taubald says. Technology, costs and user acceptance were the main reasons why s.Oliver opted for ENOVIA Version 6 as a global platform for design and development.
“With ENOVIA Version 6, there is one version of the truth per product, a single status and everyone involved can check this from any location.”
Stefanie Haas ,
Project Manager, s.Oliver
Processes and timelines in view
For the fashion company, the most important component of the solution is ENOVIA Apparel Accelerator for Design & Development. This solution, specifically tailored to the fashion industry, facilitates the mapping of design and production processes. It allows all parties involved in creating a piece of clothing to manage their individual product data, schedules and costs, and makes this information immediately available to all parties. Users are always shown the current status of their tasks, while decision-makers can see the overall picture. Since it is a web-based application, any information is made available to all participants instantly.
The use of ENOVIA Version 6 introduced changes in working methods, of which some employees were initially wary. Users are convinced of the solution’s benefits thanks to the system’s user-friendliness and to the support of the project team. Currently, staff members from ten s.Oliver departments and the six in-house agencies in a total of six countries are using ENOVIA Version 6 for a variety of tasks, including developing the design, preparing worksheets, scheduling initial sampling, and tracking production planning and costs. Over the coming months, all departments and agencies should be connected to the system. The centrally available data set is strongly growing. For example, ENOVIA Version 6 platform already manages approximately 21,000 entries on materials, 2,300 on colors, and information about 1,670 business partners.
What is the bottom line? Stefanie Haas, project manager at s.Oliver, outlines the main advantages: “ENOVIA Version 6 helps us control the ever-increasing complexity and creates transparency for all involved. There is only one version of the truth per product, a single status, and everyone involved can check this from any location.” This makes the process much faster, for example, agencies now pose fewer questions to the corporate head office — just one of many time-savers. “We can now respond more rapidly and flexibly to new trends and customer needs,” Haas concludes. In 2012, s.Oliver is planning to integrate all its suppliers directly into the system.