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The Right PLM Solution Advances Cabela’s

Gabe Garcia

December 5, 2012

3 Min Read
The Right PLM Solution Advances Cabela’s

The retail industry is constantly changing and faces new challenges to meet ever more immediate customer demand.

At Cabela's, we realized that staying ahead of the market required a PLM system that would allow us to place emphasis on speed of innovation, thereby introducing more Cabela's brand products to the assortment each season and helping us grow our overall brand in the US and globally.

In addition, we knew that the right PLM solution would offer the following benefits:

  • Increase cross-functional team collaboration during the product development process;

  • Eliminate redundant tasks and enable more time for innovation and creative value-added work;

  • Reduce product cycle-time from ideation to commercialization through workflow driven tasks;

  • Reduce raw material input costs and increase overall product margin.

As we evaluated PLM vendors, one solution stood out due to the depth of its retail customer base, along with the proven processes enabled by its out-of-the-box capabilities. Being able to implement a comprehensive retail PLM system in a short period of time was critical to our quickly realizing value and reducing product cycle-time. We selected ITC Infotech as our PLM implementer based on their strong configuration knowledge base with PTC's FlexPLM and close relationship with PTC.

Cabela's is now using PTC PLM solutions to manage the entire lifecycle of its apparel and footwear products, from conception through design, technical design, sourcing, and manufacturing to commercialization. By integrating business processes, workflow, and data, the PLM solutions are enabling us to increase fill rates and improve margins, thus supporting our core strategy of improving merchandising performance.

We take our brand very seriously at Cabela's, and being able to implement a best-practices PLM solution out-of-the-box was crucial for us. By week three with PTC's PLM tool, we were already adding design content and adding to our apparel brand line. In fact, we were able to implement both apparel and footwear in just one year thanks to the FlexPLM simple configuration. Being agile in the market requires being agile in your product development process. Speed and the ability to change quickly is everything.

When evaluating PLM vendors, Cabela's brought in a team of 20 super users representing various functional departments such as merchandising, design, technical design, material and color management, sourcing, trade compliance, and customer relations. The super users provided their functional requirements during the configuration workshops. They then went through several "work and learn" training sessions where they were working on the test system.

After the super users were trained, it was their responsibility to train other users in their departments. It was a very organic and collaborative effort. The super users made a decision that they didn't want fancy PowerPoint slides and large training manuals that would just end up on the shelf. Our mantra was that the system should be so intuitive -- like an iPhone -- that no training manual was required. Instead, users would learn new tips and tricks through the system's user interface and then share them virally with other team members. This is the way today's users learn and adopt applications. They chose not to use the waterfall method of system development and adopted an agile method for quick ROI.

Gabe Garcia has 16 years of experience in the apparel and footwear design, product development, sourcing, manufacturing, and retail industry.

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About the Author(s)

Gabe Garcia

Gabe Garcia has 16 years of experience in the apparel and footwear design, product development, sourcing, manufacturing, and retail industry. He's been with Cabela's for 12 years, now holding the role of PLM Manager. In that role, he is responsible for the PLM implementation and roadmap within Cabela's. Garcia holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso, Texas.

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