When it comes to data management, no matter what sub-area you belong to in the apparel industry, the problem tends to be the same: there’s too much valuable data scattered here and everywhere, and the need to organize it in the same platform is paramount. Even for a company like Sika Footwear, which has been in the market for 150 years, this issue is an everyday hindrance.
“About five years ago we came to the conclusion that we had a lot of data lying around in different places: on our server, in email accounts, on handwritten notes. Our data wasn’t anchored in one place. We had to adhere to rigorous procedures to alleviate the danger entailed in all our data just floating around,” recalls Morten Berthelsen, Sourcing Manager.
Footwear for the feet and the work performed
Sika Footwear is a Danish company founded in 1870. They are known for producing the highest-quality safety footwear for many different industries and purposes, including catering, medical industries, cleaning, and the hospital and care sectors.
Their mission is to produce shoes that are safe, comfortable, and fit for their function. Therefore, they collaborate with users to manufacture shoes from scratch that will meet their daily work tasks and keep them safe while they perform them.
Matching your ERP system
So what do you do when you have tons of valuable data at your disposal, but nowhere to merge it? You go out into the market and search for the right solution.
For Sika, there were a few must-haves. Firstly, the chosen platform had to be relevant to everyone working on it. Secondly, the new software had to merge with their current ERP financial system – they wanted an integration that would delete the need to type the same things twice and allow data transfer between the two systems. Finally, they wanted a friendly, easy-to-use platform.
“We started searching for a single-source-of-truth solution and we found Delogue PLM. It was a rather intuitive, scalable platform and the chemistry with the team was great from the start – we were more or less on the same level, whilst conversant in the same philosophy, about what the system could do for us,” says Morten.
Post-digitalization, the future's bright
Today, after five years of using Delogue PLM, their data is aligned and valid. Not only that, but as they have moved into a fully digital strategy supported by their sustainability efforts, the benefits have become even more palpable.
“We have an ongoing digitization project at our company. We want to be much more digital, and our marketing team is working towards this strategy,” says Morten.
The Sika marketing team have access to Delogue. They find it an essential asset, as they can extract all of the information about a product to create communication or product descriptions – whether it is catalogs or ad campaigns for e-commerce or B2B webshops.
Delogue’s ‘Custom Fields’ feature enables them to add all of the product data needed by the Marketing and Purchasing departments, so there’s no more hunting around the office for information, or making endless requests via email.
Cutting down paper catalogs
One of the first things Sika shredded as part of their digitalization was the amount of paper used in sending catalogs all over the world. It was a time-consuming process, and if there were mistakes (regarding a style, for example) and the catalogs had already gone to print, there was no turning back. With the catalogs online, it’s easy to make changes. Furthermore, having all the product information available via Delogue has been a great benefit – without the platform, it would be necessary to manually type all the data into the marketing system.
“The marketing manager tells me we have received compliments about our very high level of data structure. The company that produces the catalogs told us: ‘It’s so nice to work with a company where the data is valid and structured, allowing us to simply drag it out and put it in a file to use in our system to generate the catalogs’,” says Morten.
“It’s a benefit we didn’t perceive at the beginning when we got Delogue, but it confirms the necessity of having all our data structured in one place.”
Sticking to new routines
It wasn’t an easy job assembling all the product data in Delogue, as their products are highly technical and require a lot of details. It took sweat and tears and the adaptation of new routines. However, as time passes by, Sika is seeing an increasing number of benefits.
One big challenge was keeping everyone in line to ensure that all style-related information is only shared with Delogue. It is continuously stressed to colleagues and suppliers that all communication must be held via Delogue. It can’t happen via Outlook email, WeChat, Whatsapp etc. Because if someone leaves the company or goes on holiday, and they didn’t communicate their latest news via Delogue, then mistakes will happen.
“It’s a basic rule inside our company that all communication takes place via Delogue. If it isn’t, we might lose the thread and not be able to find out what happened. This is one of the main things you have to maintain and monitor because sometimes it can be easy just to type it outside Delogue. But we insist on taking the time to do it because we need it to monitor the process. Having it outside removes the scope,” explains Morten.
Flexibility and accessibility everywhere in the world
Before the pandemic, Morten used to travel a lot to Asia to visit the factories. He found it very useful to be able to sit in the hotel afterwards and use Delogue to update what had been agreed in the factory with the suppliers, thus informing those sitting in Denmark.
It gives them flexibility and they gain a lot from the common access to the same data. If someone needs to cover for a colleague, they find the style and get the latest information without having to involve the person who is out of the office.
“Our main mission was that we should merge our data. The full potential at the moment for us is the structure of the data and the accessibility of the data. I recommend it to anyone considering a data overhaul because it’s key to evolving with your digital transformation,” concludes Morten.