Dassault Systèmes will demonstrate its industry leading solutions for the Consumer Goods and Retail industry at PI Apparel 2018, a leading conference focused on innovation taking place at The Union League Club in downtown Manhattan, June 19-20. PI Apparel, part of the Product Innovation series of global CxO events that are focused on rapidly evolving tech trends and the possibilities for business transformation – brings together leaders in fashion, apparel and footwear to discuss the challenges and technologies disrupting the industry.
On June 14, Dassault Systèmes announced it was acquiring a majority stake in Centric Software to accelerate digital transformation for companies in the fashion, apparel, luxury and retail sectors. Headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley and with offices in 13 countries, Centric Software provides product lifecycle management software solutions to more than 600 globally-recognized brands including ASICS, Bass Pro, Belle China, Bestseller, Etam, Kate Spade, Loblaws, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Samsonite, Ted Baker, Tommy Hilfiger and others.
Dassault Systèmes’ booth (#10) at PI Apparel will feature new capabilities used by several of its customers including Pandora, deploying its QUINTIQ advanced planning system to support growing global demand, Gingko, using CATIA 3D sketch to rapidly turn creative ideas into 3D models ready for manufacture, and Danish shoe company ECCO, which is partnering with Dassault Systèmes’ Fashion Lab on a footwear customization project that combines real-time analysis, data-driven design and in-store 3D printing for a custom shoe experience.
We had the chance to catch up with Susan Olivier, Vice President of Business Development, Consumer Goods and Retail Industry for Dassault Systèmes preparing for the event.
Q. In your experience meeting with companies around the world, what are some common industry business drivers shared by fashion companies today?
Susan Olivier: We need to understand the rise of the consumer. Today’s consumers don’t just buy products, they buy experiences. Retailers and brands
need to integrate the voice and expectations of the consumer from the early stages of ideation through the product lifecycle and even into online or in-store product customization, ultimately creating a positive emotional response, encouraging the consumer to shop longer, try and buy, and winning consumer loyalty. Product innovation is also critical. More connected and better informed than ever, consumers want the latest features and will take time to investigate and compare different product and brand offerings.
Q. Can you talk about top industry trends? What are retailers and brands focused on today?
Susan Olivier: The biggest trend in Consumer Goods, Fashion and Retail is still about putting the consumer into the heart of the ideation and development process in ways we have not fully embraced. You have to operate from outside in not the other way around – not just words but the entire innovation process. Companies need to listen to the voice of the consumer and not just in the marketing department, but making sure that voice is accessible to the design and development team who are working on the ‘next’ products. Then you can combine the consumer voice with data signals on competitive insights, market trends and sales history…to accelerate product development from ideation to the consumer.
Some companies sense this but operationally they are stuck in legacy… trying to move faster but it’s no longer enough just to work differently -you HAVE to be doing different work. Don’t just try to shorten the approval process for samples – eliminate it! Design, validate, simulate and even start selling in 3D as an example. That’s why new entrants without legacy systems can often move faster and are not only looking at the consumer first but the consumer as an individual which is very different! Innovations such as 3D high-end visualization, 3D digital design, virtual merchandising and virtual store, the way we evaluate and buy what we need (and want) is changing.Consumers also have increasing expectations for some level of personalization and customization.
Today that’s mostly ‘modular’ – how can I select the color or finish I want? Or mix pre-defined components together to have something more unique. But the next wave is truly ‘dimensional’ customization, meaning I’ll be able to have things like the mid-sole of my performance shoe 3D printed on-demand based on my personal stride and running style, in addition to selecting my modular components.
And of course, consumers have increased expectations on the speed of fulfillment so managing modular, and ultimately dimensional, designs plus elements of near-shore manufacturing with an integrated supply chain approach will be key for brands and retailers. They will need to balance the instant gratification of products made for ‘stock’ with selective ‘make-to-order’ products. And in fact better planning to tighten make-to-stock inventories will free up cash for make-to-order innovation.
Q. How can brands and retailers better engage with today’s consumers who are more and more connected and informed, in order to maintain and build brand loyalty?
Susan Olivier: Attracting and engaging consumers is at the core of Consumer Goods brands’ and retailers’ strategies today. Companies want to be visible everywhere, anytime, and with an endless aisle.
When we think about how 3D can be incorporated, the possibilities expand. Companies could use photo-realistic 3D models to reveal the full assortment long before perfect samples exist. They can apply modular design so that select products are configurable, and orderable, in real time. And those products can be configured using 3D whether as a simple “always-on” experience online or with in-store touch screens, even 3D holographic screens, to drive more consumer engagement and another reason to come into a physical store.