Cape Union Mart Launches PLM Journey with Centric Software

South African multi-chain retailer chooses Centric PLM to support rapid growth, integrate suppliers and enhance visibility

Cape Union Mart, the South African outdoor company, has selected Centric Software’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Centric Software provides the most innovative enterprise solutions to fashion, retail, footwear, outdoor, luxury and consumer goods companies to achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.

Cape Union Mart was founded in 1933 and has been equipping South African adventurers and sportspeople ever since. Cape Union Mart was originally an ‘Army and Navy’ store, stocking “everything from an anchor to a toothpick”. Today, Cape Union Mart is a multi-chain retailer. The company’s five chains, Cape Union Mart, Old Khaki, Poetry, Tread+Miller and Keedo, cover a variety of different markets from children’s wear to home goods. The company currently has 300 stores across South Africa as well as stores in Namibia and Botswana. Aiming at the higher end of the market, Cape Union Mart is differentiated by its commitment to outstanding customer service and quality.

In the last six years, Cape Union Mart has tripled in size. The company has grown from one chain to five and has ambitions to increase its number of stores to 400 in the next two years. Facing the challenges of growth and increasing complexity, Cape Union Mart decided to invest in a PLM solution.

“What used to be acceptable to do in Excel really wasn’t possible going forward,” explains Grant de Waal, Group IT Systems Manager at Cape Union Mart. “Because we lacked systems that were fully integrated with suppliers, there were communication issues. We were experiencing the growing pains that come with transforming from a small to a large retailer. We are on a mission to replace a lot of our legacy systems and the right PLM solution provides the foundation for improving business processes across the whole organization.”

As Grant de Waal says, “We weren’t the first retailer to embark on this journey within the local footprint and we knew that Centric is used by several larger retailers in South Africa, as well as many of our suppliers. When we put out an RFP, we were impressed by Centric’s ability to cater to all of our chains, seamlessly integrate suppliers and factories and effectively handle sizing and colors. We have a very complex business with two separate sides: the outdoor division, which runs on a replenishment model with our own brands and supplier brands, and the fashion division, which has a design center and works with two local CMT (cut, make, trim) manufacturers. Most solutions could only handle one or the other but what we liked about Centric was that it could do both.”

Cape Union Mart decided to adopt the full range of Centric 8 modules and several of Centric’s mobile apps for PLM. Centric and Cape Union Mart are also working with Centric Software’s long-term partner local consultancy, Cogworks Consulting, to meet specific requirements of the South African retail market.

“The apps that Centric has launched to improve buying, design, sampling and quality control are of huge interest to us and we also look forward to trying out Centric’s innovations in AI and 3D, particularly 3D sampling. We expect to have much better supply chain visibility, sourcing management and supplier relationships. This is a journey, rather than a project, and we will be working with Centric for a number of years to optimize our business. Centric has been extremely accommodating, and amazing to work with so far. Because Centric is collaborating with a local partner, Cogworks, we are getting cutting-edge technology and international best practices combined with local knowledge and insights.”

Christina Clucas, Business Development Director at Cogworks Consulting says, “We are delighted to help bring Cape Union Mart and Centric Software together. Centric is making strides in the South African market, and from a consultancy point of view, it’s great to be able to confidently recommend an innovative PLM partner with a wealth of fashion expertise to a successful apparel retailer that’s growing at a significant pace.”

Cape Union Mart is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Ms Renee Jain as Supply Chain Application Manager. “Ms Jain was instrumental in the early adoption of Centric 8 in South Africa and has 3 years of experience with the product. We look forward to benefiting from her expertise during our journey with Centric,” he concludes.

“We would like to welcome Cape Union Mart on board as our latest partner in South Africa,” says Chris Groves, President and CEO of Centric Software. “Cape Union Mart has grown significantly in recent years across a diverse range of apparel and footwear markets and we are proud to be able to support their plans for the future. The Centric team is looking forward to a long and productive relationship with Cape Union Mart and our local partner, Cogworks Consulting, and the accomplished Renee Jain.”

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