About the case
Marlies Dekkers has become known around the world as an innovator and design powerhouse of men’s and women’s underwear and intimate apparel. The company currently has 750 outlets, 11 Marlies | Dekkers brand stores and 170 employees. With celebrity clientele ranging from Britney Spears to Janet Jackson, tremendous growth necessitated software solutions that could keep up with the designer’s reputation.
Marlies | Dekkers needed a solution that was user friendly and accessible by a variety of parties. It would have to facilitate the planning and production of new designs, from initial concept development to a final bill of materials. This process involves many steps and many stakeholders. The challenges involved in the project were varied but mainly centered on the required integration with prior internal systems. Until now, the product planning process for the company had been facilitated by Microsoft Excel. Due to the involvement of different parties, it was a complex and fuzzy process ranging from initial concept design to the final purchasing of materials.
The goals set forth for the Mendix project team involved three parts:
- A Product Data Management (PDM) tool would allow numerous segregated parties to analyze the supply chain process in order to reduce material and labor costs and increase delivery reliability.
- A centralized Product Management Portal would use data input such as deliveries, sales periods, product designs and employee responsibilities from the PDM module to better facilitate the product development lifecycle, and improve lines of communication within the supply chain.
- Added purchase functionality, both of designs and materials, to facilitate the creation of a bill of materials. This would need to be integrated with both the PDM module and the planning modules.
Modules were created in the order noted above. The team started after a track and trace module was built on the Mendix Platform. The track and trace module used data from Axapta, an external application. Three functional modules – PDM, Purchasing, and Production Planning – were delivered separately. After the PDM module was completed, the data migration process began. Finally, the data imported from Axapta to the track and trace module was replaced with data from the PDM module.
It was previously impossible to get real time information as well as an overview of the whole process from design to delivery.
Currently, a Phase 2 is defined to expand the current functionality of the internal solution. This project contributed to the following Marlies | Dekkers targets:
- Avoid reduction in growth rate due to inefficient product development process.
- Achieve cost savings via further analysis of workflow efficiencies.
- Provide real time information for internal and external parties.
The Mendix platform was technically superior to the alternative packaged software, more flexible and easier to adjust to the changing needs of a rapidly growing retail brand. The logistical manager of Marlies | Dekkers made the final decision to go with Mendix, a decision that has since made growth for the renowned fashion brand manageable. The team at Mendix looks forward to facilitating growth for yet another organization striving to achieve business agility.