Exclusive Interview: Peter Bambridge, Head of Global Business Development for Gerber Technology
In the latest of a series of expansions to its software solutions business, Gerber Technology will this week announce the appointment of Peter Bambridge to a new role. Bambridge was formerly Director of Software Solutions for Northern Europe, and his new role sees him promoted to head of Global Business Development within Gerber Technology.
Our Editor, Ben Hanson, was afforded an exclusive interview with Bambridge following his appointment, and Ben set out to gain some insight into the progress that Gerber Technology has been making over the past year.
Ben: Congratulations on your new role, Peter. Now, we’ve seen a great deal of change in the company’s operations since Gerber Scientific was acquired by Vector Capital in August of last year. How would you characterise the last twelve months?
Peter: Thank you. I would characterise this year as one of significant growth in our software solutions business. This has been driven by two primary causes: the continued market dominance of the Accumark CAD solution, and the emergence of YuniquePLM as one of the leading PLM solutions for the retail, footwear and apparel industry.
Ben: You mention that Gerber Technology’s PLM business has seen some considerable growth over the past year. Can you provide some context for that growth and give our readers some concrete examples?
Peter: When leading, multi-national companies make strategic commitments to a PLM solution, like YuniquePLM, it adds weight to something you and I already know: that PLM is a fully-fledged enterprise solution, suitable for companies at every level of the retail, apparel and footwear industry. The customers that have adopted YuniquePLM this year are already experiencing the benefits of a centralised platform: realising flexible growth, global collaboration, and real agility.
Ben: Can you reveal the names of any of those companies?
Peter: Some of the most notable recent customers of YuniquePLM are: Jonathan & Fletcher, Consortio Fashion Group AB, Koi Design, Fruit of the Loom (comprising Spalding, Vanity Fair, Russell Athletic), Wolverine Worldwide, Merrell, Abercrombie & Fitch, Disney, and Randa Accessories. Those new customers are also joined by several high-profile, global retailers who have asked not to be named at this stage. In total, we now have more than 60 companies who have adopted YuniquePLM, with over 25 of those making this choice in this year alone. It is worth noting, too, that the value of YuniquePLM does not end there: many of these PLM hubs are connected to thousands of further users across global supply chains – users who are also deriving indirect business benefits from the adoption of PLM.
Ben: I understand that YuniquePLM is beginning to replace Gerber Technology’s WebPDM solution, so can you tell me how many of those new customers are migrating from one solution to the other?
Peter: It is a fairly even mix. We have many brand-new customers who are selecting YuniquePLM to fulfil their product development needs, and we equally have many satisfied customers of WebPDM who have taken the decision to migrate to a full PLM solution. For those who are upgrading to YuniquePLM, we have developed our own dedicated migration tool, Yunique Yunify, which helps to ensure their migrations will run smoothly, without loss of data.
Ben: Obviously you’re seeing considerable interest from existing customers of your PDM solution, but you also mentioned that Accumark continues to be a cornerstone of the Gerber Technology family; are you seeing any of those CAD customers develop an interest in PLM?
Peter: Yes, we have seen rapid growth in interest in our unique ability to tightly integrate YuniquePLM with the Accumark CAD environment. Exploiting that integration between CAD and PLM can deliver significant business benefits and improved productivity, and this is an example of where we see the extended capabilities of YuniquePLM making a real difference. We have more than 25,000 companies worldwide using Accumark, so this is certainly another avenue through which we expect to see further growth in the adoption of PLM.
Ben: It seems as though both PDM to PLM migrations and CAD to PLM extensions are potentially significant areas for expansion. How is Gerber Technology planning to manage that potential growth and ensure that customer needs continue to be satisfied at all levels?
Peter: As you are aware from recent announcements, we are actively recruiting the best people to join the YuniquePLM and PDM family, but we simply cannot recruit quickly enough to meet all of these potential demands. This is why we are taking steps to expand our partner network – taking in implementation, support, and distribution – around the world. Indeed, this growth and partner network management is one of the key focuses of my new role.
Ben: Alongside those new duties, what other responsibilities will you be taking on in this newly-created role?
Peter: In addition to the sales and distribution area, I will also be working on building up the ecosystem that surrounds Gerber Technology’s solutions, taking advantage of both our innovation, and that of our partners. As an example, we very recently pioneered integration between our extended PLM system and merchandise planning solution Torex. As we continue to deliver against our product roadmap, the need for further partnerships like this one will become more obvious, and I will work to ensure that each of them extends the capabilities and improves upon the value already offered by YuniquePLM.
Ben: I assume that global business development will involve a considerable amount of foresight and trend analysis. How do you see the market changing over the coming years?
Peter: I believe we will continue to see consolidation between the growing numbers of vendors addressing this particular industry. We are fortunate to have the financial strength and backing of Vector Capital behind us, but I predict that many of the smaller vendors – those who don’t have the benefit of such a strong foundation – will struggle to survive alone in this increasingly competitive market. The other factor that I believe will drive this change is the increasing focus on delivering solutions that address the needs of truly global, end-to-end business processes. This is changing the need for point solutions, and so what we are seeing is an increased need for integrated, Out Of the Box solutions that are both robust and flexible and that, informed by industry best practice, will enable customers to achieve a rapid return on their initial investment at every stage of the modern product development process.