Day Two of PTC 2010 User Event: Adidas

adidas is a PTC customer that uses Windchill PLM -- what makes this interesting: adidas makes consumer products. Peter Burrows, CIO Emeritus says company has many, many brands and is global. Revenue is equally distributed around the world. Fastest growing markets: China and Russia.

Even a consumer product company is very complex in terms of product logistics, says Burrows. Takes 18 months to bring a shoe product to market. Thousands of new products every 180 days. A new season replaces 80% of the products introduced the previous season. Significant logistical needs of testing, approving, and selling. Have many outsource facilities. Created Fair Factory Clearinghouse, a cloud-based app, so even its competitors can collaborate on workers' human rights. Users can go to the adidas Web site and "build" their own, custom pair of shoes.

Easytone from Reebok (arm of adidas) was engineered to take stability out of shoe to improve muscle toning. Opposite concept: Zigtech from adidas; bottom like a slinky which gives you energy as you walk; takes strain off of body. The company also makes all the uniforms for all the NFL and NBA teams.

Have a completely new data model in PLM: style, color, and graphics is three-tiered system. Company makes custom shirts with graphics based on looking at what people at games are wearing and what is on the signs they hold up. This information too, must be entered in a repository. Size problem in its industry was very significant factor in selecting a method to do this.

adidas had to work with PTC to create a specific version of its PLM product, FlexPLM. Tried to decide what is the same for everybody, but did not try to reach 100% consensus. Picked the best, most enthusiastic location to start the implementation. Designed a configuration framework (see the image) Each rollout should then get faster and faster. Important to fund full-time, business team members in project cost; that way, you get the best team members, not just ones who are available.

Why did Burrows choose PTC? He says: Selected PLM in 2002; used Lotus Notes at first to create an early prototype. The marketplace was not clear for PLM at the time. Then adidas talked to all of the PLM suppliers. Try to evaluate companies and not the product, says Burrows. Any one company could be ahead, but do they have a vision of where would go. There are unique business requirements for business footwear. adidas is risk-adverse; looked for commitment on the part of the company. FlexPLM was a separate company, it became obvious that PTC should purchase it, which it did.

adidas has not yet completed all of its migration to PTC. It is now migrating it to apparel. Interested in SharePoint and portfolio management. Looking for a product that formalizes the up-front, conceptulization process.

Have a lot of company-owned retail shops in emerging markets like Russia because they do not have a good infrastructure.

Company can manufacture shoes in units of one: Users can custom design their own pair, online.

adidas considered "low hanging fruit" to be the vault in implementing PLM. Initially partnered with SAP; said we need to be live in 90 days -- and it happened. In six months, it was live in Russia.

Security outside of the firewall: the company puts its own networks into factories. It's possible to download an entire design onto an iPod. It is a constant changing environment, you have to keep on your toes.

adidas looks from things from the top down and the bottom up. The business case for PLM was getting products out faster; what really happened: the employees were not working 80 hrs a week -- they were happier, so it ended up good for the company. The goal: make PLM as simple and easy to use as Excel. Adoption rate is exceptionally important.

We as individuals have established what we feel is good software: eg, iPhones and Facebook. Therefore, apps have to be intuitive, easy-to-use.

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