Following Visual 2000’s recent, successful debut in the UK and European markets, WhichPLM set out to profile the company, and in particular their Visual PLM.net solution.
We met with newly-appointed European Sales Manager, Tony Walker, under whose direction the company has landed several prestigious European contracts (including Outdoor and Sports Company Ltd, SRG Apparel and more) in a short space of time. Yet many of our readers may not have heard of Visual 2000, let alone know that its WhichPLM-verified solution is one of the highest-rated on the market.
Allow us to introduce you.
Visual 2000 International Inc. was founded in 1998 in Montreal by a dedicated team of industry veterans with decades’ worth of experience in software, retail and supply. These experts had one defining goal in common: to provide a range of powerful, user-friendly enterprise management software specifically engineered for the retail, footwear and apparel industry.
Unlike many other solution vendors, who have their roots in the automotive or aerospace industries, Visual 2000 set out to cater exclusively to our sector of the market. Their software was not built on an existing template repurposed for fashion, but rather designed from the ground up to meet the unique requirements of our industry.
As Canada’s current leading supplier of ERP software to the apparel industry, the company has built upon those strong foundations to establish worldwide operations – setting up distribution channels in its home country, North America, Mexico, Europe, China and Hong Kong.
As well as its dedication to the apparel industry, Visual 2000 has defined a brand based on cornerstones of technical expertise, process knowledge and an absolute focus on usability. For more than 400 customers in North America alone, their range of software has delivered the right combination of performance and functionality, allowing businesses of all shapes and sizes to achieve profit across their global supply chain in an increasingly difficult economy.
This growing demand, coupled with well-founded confidence in their software, prompted Visual 2000’s expansion into Europe and the UK in 2011 – a move that has already had considerable impact on those markets.
Although Visual 2000’s full software range incorporates the likes of ERP and EDI systems – covering the entire expanded product development process from design to delivery – it has at its heart the company’s web-based PLM system.
Described as a best-of-breed solution, Visual PLM.net was developed in 2003 as a brand new solution to meet the needs of Visual 2000’s growing ERP customer base. Since then it has gone on to become their flagship software offering, embodying the company’s philosophy of power married to usability.
Prior to its explosion onto the UK and European markets, in December 2010 WhichPLM were asked to run Visual PLM.net through our notoriously demanding benchmarking process.
Undergoing assessment on close to a thousand separate criteria, and after a rigorous hands-on testing period, Visual PLM.net scored incredibly highly on both functionality and ease of use (you can see the evaluation results and read our high-level report on Visual 2000’s supplier listing).
As a true end-to-end solution, Visual PLM.net enables collaborative, web-based product development on a global scale – encompassing every discrete stage from a given product’s inception on the drawing board to its eventual arrival on store shelves.
The solution incorporates a fully-featured quotation tracking system for vendors, importers and retailers, enabling customers to catalogue and disseminate common processes and product information with their sourcing and manufacturing partners, wherever they may be.
By tracking quotations, products, processes, prototypes and samples across the world and throughout their entire lifecycles, Visual PLM.net gives customers an accurate overview of their business, and its broad process set and deep functionality allow them to streamline their ways of working, improve speed to market and keep pace in an increasingly competitive industry.
It speaks volumes about the youth and technological expertise of the company that their solution is delivered using the most advanced internet standards. Built on the .Net 4 framework and employing Microsoft Silverlight, Visual PLM.net can be deployed as a stand-alone system, or integrate with any ERP suite (including Visual 2000’s own), all underpinned by the same bulletproof infrastructure.
Visual 2000’s devotion to technology and functionality means that Customers in both their established and burgeoning markets can exploit global collaboration to the fullest, safe in the knowledge that their communications are seamless and secure.
Above all, the team at Visual 2000 pride themselves on the user-friendly nature and day-to-day experience of working with Visual PLM.net. Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Many users have contacted the company to complement them on the usability of their solution, which is in turn borne out by its popularity and WhichPLM’s own exhaustive testing.
The solution boasts a fully customisable and user-defined interface, which can be easily tailored for particular tasks – taking the sting out of data input. And with batch processing functionality (including multi-folder printing and updating), a robust and powerful search engine, version control and an intuitive tab structure that makes users of Microsoft Office and similar suites feel immediately at home, it’s clear that Visual 2000’s dedication to providing a versatile, welcoming solution is more than skin deep.
Beyond the software, too, Visual 2000 has the right people to substantiate its claims of both technological and apparel industry expertise. These include staff who migrated from such industry luminaries as PTC and Gerber Technology. I spoke to Tony Walker (himself an industry veteran of over twenty years) about his reasons for joining the company:
“I had been out of the industry – working in a wider retail role – and I was attracted to working with Visual 2000 because I truly believed in the software. I came back because I saw a new proposition for the market. In Visual PLM.net I saw a genuinely end-to-end solution that was both powerful and user-friendly, and I knew it was unique.”
So why have Visual 2000 made such an impression in the UK and Europe this year? In part because their experience in the North American and Canadian markets has allowed them to build strong global training and product support networks (including the company’s own Commitment to Customer Excellence Programme). Similarly, their proven software has continued to impress – with its broad and fully-featured capability set, support for the widest range of industry standard processes and integration with many expanded software suites and libraries.
Primarily, though, it is Visual 2000’s absolute focus on the apparel industry that has established them as leading suppliers of PDM and PLM software both overseas and, now, in Europe. Since their foundation, the company has employed industry experts to produce powerful and fashion-focused software. This doesn’t mean that they are short-sighted, though (indeed their range of software has grown to include many ancillary and supporting processes for the same industry segments), but rather that they have never lost sight of the needs of their specific end users.
In all the ways that count, Visual 2000’s name can be taken quite literally. Their founding principles have guided their growth, and the company’s focus has remained on allowing its users to visualise their business in a unique and intuitive way – one that removes uncertainty and can be tailored to fit their individual styles of working.
By providing a truly end-to-end, collaborative and accommodating solution, Visual 2000 allows customers to see their business in a new light.
That is the visual difference.
You can discover more about Visual 2000’s unique products and read the latest Visual PLM.net news by visiting their supplier listing.
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