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Baroque Japan Limited: Connecting the Dots with Lectra Fashion PLM

Baroque Japan Limited: Connecting the Dots with Lectra Fashion PLM
With 18 fashion brands to its name, Baroque Japan is a rising star in Japan’s fashion landscape. First launched as “MOUSSY” in 2000, the company’s edgy streetwear look, straight from the streets of Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya neighborhood, captured the imagination of young Japanese consumers and catapulted the brand to success. Seventeen years later, Baroque now boasts 375 stores in Japan, 231 stores overseas, and recorded $636.8m in sales for the year ending January 2017.

But as Baroque’s business expanded, so too did its infrastructure and overseas network. Sharing information between head office, suppliers and production sites in foreign countries posed unexpected challenges, while unstandardized working processes, protocols, and IT systems made collaboration between different divisions difficult. It became clear Baroque would need a more robust solution to keep up with the company’s growth.

Baroque wanted to connect its design, product development and production teams on one platform. After researching more than 10 product lifecycle management (PLM) vendors, the company chose Lectra. “Lectra Fashion PLM stood out because it is designed for fashion. The software didn’t require extensive customization to get started and it is priced within reason,” explains Hirofumi Yamazaki, Senior Managing Director at Baroque. “Lectra presented us with many successful international case studies, so we knew the platform could be adapted to our global network.”

Lectra’s PLM solution allowed Baroque to standardize workflow and gave them better visibility over their process, so they could troubleshoot problems, distribute workload evenly, and eliminate redundant and menial tasks. With product information centralized in a single database, teams in different countries could collaborate more easily. Overall work efficiency improved by 10%, shortening time to market by a month and supporting sales growth.

Specialty store retailer of private-label apparel, Baroque Japan Limited owns and operates 18 brands, including MOUSSY, SLY, rienda, Rodeo Crowns, Azul by moussy and ENFÖLD. Its clothing can be found in stores across Japan, China, Hong Kong and the US, and business has grown by leaps and bounds since the company’s launch, with sales reaching ¥69.4bn ($636.8m) in the year ending January 2017. But as Baroque’s infrastructure grew, so too did its need for a solution that would allow its many divisions, scattered across different countries, to work together as one solid unit.

Sharing information in real time
As Baroque added more suppliers and production sites in foreign countries to its network, sharing information between its head office in Tokyo and teams overseas became increasingly challenging. Delays would happen because departments were waiting for information, or worse, working with the wrong information, which would result in errors and time lost to costly redos. To address the problem, Baroque tried to build a company database of product information using an office spreadsheet program, but this ultimately proved unmanageable. With Lectra Fashion PLM, the company was able to create one centralized database that its design, product development and production departments could all access. “We can now store product information on a single platform, and our teams can share files and technical specs easily and instantaneously,” explains Yamazaki. “This not only facilitates a collaborative work environment, it allows our head office to track order progress in real time so they can better manage workflow.”

One team, one process

Between in-house design teams, external design and product development teams, and remote production sites in China— each with their own way of working—keeping production running smoothly had become an unwieldy business, plagued by workload imbalances, logistical issues and administrative busywork. By adopting Lectra Fashion PLM, Baroque was able to centralize their IT system and standardize workflow across its different divisions. The new system gave the company better visibility over its entire process, so it could monitor order progress; identify and address potential roadblocks to on-time delivery; distribute workload more evenly among employees; reduce unnecessary burden and waste; and eliminate redundant tasks.

“We used to manage production orders on spreadsheets, which was time-consuming and complicated. Now, order data is entered directly into the PLM and automatically transferred to our ERP, with no need to export. Our employees can spend less time on data entry and focus on core tasks. Overall efficiency has increased by 10% and our workflow is smoother and speedier. This supports sales growth because it takes us less time to deliver to stores,” emphasizes Yamazaki. “Our MOUSSY brand was able to cut its time to market from six to five months.”

Tomorrow’s challenge
The future looks bright for Baroque, which has now set its sights on conquering the US market. Part of this ambitious plan includes extending its use of Lectra Fashion PLM from 9 to all 18 of its brands. “Connecting all our brands on one platform will improve communication and efficiency across the entire company,” says Yamazaki. Baroque also plans to use Lectra Fashion PLM’s Line Planning module to link its planning and production development processes, in addition to integrating parts of its online shop into the platform. “Lectra has always provided us with conscientious service, from working with us to design our action plan, to training key users and executing test runs to ensure the PLM implementation project went smoothly,” says Yamazaki. “We are confident that they can help us overcome whatever challenges the future may bring.”