Mud Pie, an award-winning manufacturer of innovative and affordably priced gifts and apparel, has selected Centric Software to provide its PLM solution. Centric Software is among the top PLM solutions for fashion, retail, footwear, luxury, outdoor and consumer goods companies.
Founded in 1988 by CEO Marcia Miller, Mud Pie offers a range of custom-crafted gifts and clothing at affordable price points for style-conscious consumers in more than 16,000 retail outlets around the world and online.
Charlene Schoepp, director of IT applications at Mud Pie, explains that the company reached a point where it became obvious that the company needed a PLM system to support its design, development and production process.
“We examined our core competencies and where we were struggling,” says Schoepp. “Mud Pie is built on the fact that we design and develop great products, primarily in kids’ clothing, home décor and women’s fashion. We were running our product development team on an outdated system that frequently crashed. We were not giving our teams the tools they needed to succeed and it was time to put some technology behind our products. We want to get to market quicker with fewer errors.”
After a series of RFPs, demos and reference checks, which narrowed their original list of 10 vendors down to two, Mud Pie finally selected Centric Software PLM. “A couple of things sold us on Centric,” explains Schoepp.
“First Centric has very strong Adobe Illustrator integration and we wanted a system that would help, not hinder designers,” Schoepp elaborates.
“In addition, we also liked Centric’s Agile Deployment project methodology,” Schoepp continues. “We sit down with the Centric team, explain our requirements and see changes that day or within a couple of days, rather than waiting six months. Centric is very focused on customer satisfaction. They want to do whatever they can to make Mud Pie happy and give us the right tools and feedback to succeed.”
Schoepp concludes, “Centric PLM could handle everything we explained right out of the box. We weren’t looking at a tool we would have to completely reprogram to suit Mud Pie’s needs. Personalization, not customization, is key for us because it will also allow us to grow and evolve with time.”
“We’re looking forward to having a single place for the product development team to store information. Currently, designs are in one place, costings in one place, emails contain yet other information. It’s a free-form system that makes it easy for errors to occur. We’re putting more structure behind the work they’re doing and we expect that Centric will make our design process quicker, because information will be more easily accessible. Communication will be much easier as there will be a single place to go to get a whole overview of the item.”
“We’re only halfway through the implementation but our users love it,” she continues. “It’s always a learning curve with a new system but it’s intuitive and they don’t have to fight to find information. People can create views and slice and dice data the way they want to see it. They also love the communication and the fact that they can communicate with suppliers right in Centric. You always get nervous about putting in a new system but it has received a lot of praise, which we are very thankful for.”
According to Mud Pie, Centric’s attitude to customer service and customer relationships has been a crucial part of the project so far.
“We talk to the Centric team daily,” says Schoepp. “Their attitude is ‘what can we do to make Mud Pie succeed?’ If we ask a question and we’re going down a path that’s not best practice they’ll let us know and say, just so you know, our other customers are doing it this way. The way they leverage that prior knowledge is really helpful.”