Italian sportswear firm Macron has invested in a PLM system to better track raw material and supplier information across its supply chain.

The company selected Centric Software to provide its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution. Up until now it was using a system of Excel spreadsheets, emails and online chat communication to organise design, product development and merchandising across its Bologna headquarters, Italian distribution centre and office in China.

Macron, which clothes sports teams across the world, outsources production to factories globally, so tracking raw material and supplier information was becoming difficult, the company says.

"Information was not shared correctly, completely or on time," explains COO Paolo Guizzardi. "Finding information was difficult enough in our Italian office, where people are next to each other – imagine how it was for our employees in China, 9,000 kilometres and six time zones away.

"We needed PLM to give us a single, unique database, updated in real time, that everyone could use. We also wanted to standardise our coding for materials and accessories, rather than relying on people to remember what we used last year. With 15,000 SKUs in our catalogue for team sports alone, we needed to make it easier for people to quickly find exact, reliable information. The push for PLM very much came from the ground – from our users."