Legendary shoe designer Manolo Blahnik began making and selling shoes in London in the early 1970s, in a career spanning almost 50 years. He has since become one of the world’s most influential footwear makers. True to his early days, Manolo Blahnik still sketches each shoe design by hand and personally perfects the lasts and heels of his exquisitely crafted footwear. Manolo Blahnik is now a worldwide brand, sold in boutiques and department stores across more than 40 countries. While the core business is still women’s shoes, Manolo Blahnik also produces bags, belts, socks, other accessories and men’s footwear.
“Our team grew significantly within a short period of time,” says Bruno Oghittu, Digital and Logistic Director at Manolo Blahnik. “We wanted a PLM solution that could seamlessly integrate with our accounting software, PIM system, inventory management platform and wholesale ordering system. The right PLM system would also automate processes, reduce duplicate data entry and share data efficiently with suppliers.”
Manolo Blahnik selected Centric as their PLM partner in 2016 and implemented core modules of the Centric 8 PLM platform.
As Oghittu says, “We selected the system primarily because of its flexibility. It’s possible to set up the system exactly how you want, and there’s no hard coding involved, so the software can be updated without any major issues. So far, Centric has never said ‘No, it’s not possible’. Centric is used by many major shoe brands, including luxury brands which gave us confidence that they truly understood our industry.”
Interestingly, Manolo Blahnik chose to do a ‘back-to-front’ implementation, starting with the production side and the supplier portal before tackling product development and design.
“The Centric team were able to adapt the implementation to our exact needs,” says Oghittu. “They also created some specific tools we requested. For instance, it’s now possible for factories to log into the PLM supplier portal, see their purchase orders and click on a link that automatically generates a report with printable barcode stickers for that order. This automated feature is a great timesaver and it makes order fulfillment more accurate. In the first year after we went live, Centric also helped us to rationalize our color system and switch to a Pantone-based color library.”
Eighteen months later, the company has cut down on manual data entry, duplication and related errors, improved collaboration with suppliers and developed a more streamlined process for dealing with product data, thanks to Centric PLM.
“We no longer have to enter the same data in different ways in lots of different systems,” explains Oghittu. “We enter data once in PLM and PLM shares the information wherever it is needed. Centric PLM has linked all of the various technologies we use from design to retail, completing a digital transformation across our operations.
As Oghittu concludes, “We absolutely trust the Centric team and Centric provides solutions that are tailored to genuinely support us and our needs. Our Centric contacts are more like colleagues than a supplier. We have exciting plans to do more with PLM, from utilizing the full capabilities of the supplier portal to automating image uploading to digital catalogs. Our relationship with Centric is direct, collaborative and productive.”
“When Manolo Blahnik chose to implement Centric PLM, we were delighted,” says Chris Groves, President and CEO of Centric Software. “Months later, we are proud to note that Manolo Blahnik are experiencing very positive results and expanding their use of Centric PLM. We look forward to continuing to partner with Manolo Blahnik as the company embarks on future growth.”
Manolo Blahnik (www.manoloblahnik.com)
With a career spanning 45 years, Manolo Blahnik is one of the world’s most influential footwear designers. His shoes have spellbound an international set of adoring and loyal devotees across the globe. Blahnik is a craftsman. To this day he makes a trip to the factories in Milan every season for a few weeks to personally bring to life every collection. All the shoes he develops are based on his sketches which get translated into prototypes at the factories. The exquisitely shaped lasts and heels he creates for his shoes are still perfected with his very own hands.
Through the years Manolo’s achievements have been recognised by various bodies in many countries, most recently the Couture Council of America and one of the biggest an Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) awarded by her Majesty The Queen. He has also published numerous books, the latest being Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions with Rizzoli in 2015. Most recently Mr. Blahnik was awarded Collaboration of the Year Award by Footwear News, for the SS17 collection VetementsxManoloBlahnik.
Along with a leading women’s line which includes evening and day bags, the brand also has a successful men’s collection.
Manolo Blahnik has 318 points of sale in 40 countries worldwide with 14 standalone stores and an e-commerce platform – manoloblahnik.com.
Centric Software (www.centricsoftware.com)
From its headquarters in Silicon Valley and offices in trend capitals around the world, Centric Software provides a Digital Transformation Platform for the most prestigious names in fashion, retail, footwear, luxury, outdoor and consumer goods. Centric Visual Innovation Platform (VIP) is a visual, fully digital collection of boards for touch-based devices like iPad, iPhone and large-scale, touch-screen televisions. Centric VIP transforms decision making and automates execution to truly collapse time to market and distance to trend. Centric’s flagship product lifecycle management (PLM) platform, Centric 8, delivers enterprise-class merchandise planning, product development, sourcing, business planning, quality, and collection management functionality tailored for fast-moving consumer industries. Centric SMB packages extended PLM including innovative technology and key industry learnings tailored for small businesses.
Centric Software has received multiple industry awards, including the Frost & Sullivan Global Product Differentiation Excellence Award in Retail, Fashion, and Apparel PLM in 2016 and Frost & Sullivan’s Global Retail, Fashion, and Apparel PLM Product Differentiation Excellence Award in 2012. Red Herring named Centric to its Top 100 Global list in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
Centric is a registered trademark of Centric Software. All other brands and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.