Footwear company sets foundation for growth
CAMPBELL, Calif., April 26, 2022 – Allbirds, the global lifestyle brand that innovates with naturally derived materials to make better footwear and apparel products in a better way, has selected Centric Software®’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Centric Software provides the most innovative enterprise solutions to plan, design, develop, source and sell products such as apparel, footwear, sporting goods, furniture, home décor, cosmetics, food & beverage and luxury to achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.
Allbirds is based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2015. A certified B Corp, the environment is at the forefront of their business. With products made with New Zealand wool, a sustainable resource, and other natural materials, Allbirds has retail stores worldwide and ships to 35 countries. The company has grown by leaps and bounds in the six years of its existence.
Joe Vernachio, Chief Operating Officer at Allbirds, says, “As we expand the breadth of our product offerings and the frequency of new launches, we need a more robust control center on the front end of our business.” He explains his philosophy about making the right products. “The only thing that matters is the product until the product is there. So first, you have to make things people want. You have to have a relentless flow of compelling product. And once you do, then the marketing, the supply chain, the distribution, and all that other stuff counts. We are laser focused on creating a very compelling product pipeline. And to do that, we need more control and s structure around how we bring product through the design, development, and commercialization process.
The company has about 4,000+ SKUs. Vernachio says, “We have the complexity of operations in North America, Asia, and Europe, all selling our product. We have offices for design and product in Portland, and a sourcing liaison in Vietnam. We have people working remotely. Keeping everybody on track through the product development process is really critical. We’ve been successful with how we’re doing it—which is a little bit homegrown, and bits and pieces of other systems that we’re using—but it’s not integrated, and not anything that we could scale to the future.”
Allbirds decided they needed PLM to continue to grow. Says Vernachio, “We required a common source of truth for the product that’s coming through the pipeline. We wanted one place to go to find product in the line and details like color, price, technical specs, and where it is in the development process.”
“We searched for a system that we didn’t have to over configure to get started. The sweet spot was a system where we could start relatively small in its implementation and get good value out of it, then scale with it as we grow.” Vernachio describes their selection process, “We had as many as 12 vendors on the list. We cast the net as wide and as far as we could, then narrowed it down. With some, we had quick 30-minute calls but with others we had full demos. We got it down to two where ultimately, Centric won out.”
The willingness and capability of Centric to work on Allbirds’s groundbreaking approach to carbon calculations was a factor. “Right next to margin, we will be calculating our CO2e emissions. So those two numbers will be locked together through the development process,” says Vernachio. “I think normally, people configure PLM to look at margins—putting raw material cost in BOMs, calculating consumptions all the way through to what you think your FOB will be. For us, the carbon score is first and the margin is second. So, before we even look at the margin, we will look at whether or not we’re achieving the carbon score that we set out for ourselves.” He confirms, “Centric was very willing to work with us on finding new and fundamental ways of calculating our CO2e through the entire process, and not have it be this bolt-on after the fact.”
Getting down to the details, Vernachio says, “Every raw material will have a CO2e value associated with it. And every step in the manufacturing process that creates CO2e consumption—the factories that we source materials from, the transportation—will have a CO2e score. Then you’ll evaluate, just like you do with the margin, going down the list, and you might say, ‘look what that material does to our CO2e score; we’ve got to switch it out.’”
Vernachio says that Allbirds is very committed to the implementation of
Centric PLM. “We are putting our legacy process into PLM. I think we’re going to see really great adoption. And I also think that how we configure the carbon calculation has the potential to lead the industry. We are happy to freely share our carbon calculator with other brands. We hope to be a resource for any of Centric’s customers that want to calculate their CO2e because we’re not in competition to reduce CO2e. We should all be supporting each other to try to make it as low as possible.”
President and CEO of Centric Software, Chris Groves, says, “I am proud to be partnering with such an environmentally forward company who could very well change the standard for how companies calculate CO2e emissions. Centric is truly committed to enabling the industry to be more sustainable through innovation, developing new features and integrations. We can’t wait to learn more from the leader in sustainable footwear as we move forward together.”
Allbirds believes in making better things in a better way. As a certified B Corp and public benefit corporation, the environment is a key business stakeholder. Since inception, the brand has been laser focused on combating the proliferation of petroleum-based materials in apparel and footwear. Allbirds’s story began with superfine New Zealand merino wool, and has since evolved to include a eucalyptus tree fiber knit fabric and a sugarcane-based EVA foam (SweetFoam®). In 2019, Allbirds became 100% carbon neutral through a self-imposed carbon tax, and in 2020, the brand began labeling all products with a carbon footprint. Allbirds firmly believes that business can accelerate a shift away from high-polluting practices and help protect the planet for future generations.
Centric Software (www.centricsoftware.com)
From its headquarters in Silicon Valley, Centric Software® provides a Product Concept to Consumer Digital Transformation Platform for fashion, retail, footwear, luxury, outdoor, consumer electronics and consumer goods including cosmetics and personal care and food and beverage. Centric’s flagship Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) platform, Centric PLMTM, delivers enterprise-class merchandise planning, product development, sourcing, quality and product portfolio optimization innovations specifically for fast-moving consumer industries. Centric Visual Innovation Platform (CVIP) offers highly visual digital board experiences for collaboration and decision-making. Centric Retail Planning is an innovative, cloud-native solution powered by Armonica Retail S.R.L., that delivers an end-to-end retail planning process designed to maximize retail business performance. Centric Software pioneered mobility, introducing the first mobile apps for PLM, and is widely known for connectivity to dozens of other enterprise systems including ERP, DAM, PIM, e-com, planning and more as well as creative tools such as Adobe® Illustrator and a host of 3D CAD connectors. Centric’s innovations are 100% market-driven with the highest user adoption rate and fastest time to value in the industry. All Centric innovations shorten time to market, boost product innovation and reduce costs.
Centric Software is majority-owned by Dassault Systèmes (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA), the world leader in 3D design software, 3D digital mock-up and PLM solutions.
Centric Software has received multiple industry awards and recognition, including being named by Red Herring to its Top 100 Global list in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Centric also received various excellence awards from Frost & Sullivan in 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Centric Software is a registered trademark of Centric Software Inc. All other brands and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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