Wolverine digitalizes product development

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Wolverine is implementing cloud-based PLM technology.

Wolverine Worldwide aims to save time and enhance sustainability with a new product lifecycle management (PLM) platform.

The Michigan-based vertical footwear and apparel retailer, which sells more than 70 million pairs of shoes and pieces of apparel annually to consumers around the globe, determined its speed-to-market was being hampered by having a non-digital PLM process. Wolverine decided to implement the cloud-based Centric PLM platform, based on factors such as its accessibility via application programming interfaces (APIs) and high-speed data export capability. 

After rollout is complete, Wolverine expects to obtain benefits including unified enterprise reporting that centrally stores all PLM data, which will result in an estimated 2,500 – 5,800 instances of re-entering data across 500 – 700 active spreadsheets per season. 

Another expected benefit will be enabling sustainability in Wolverine’s product development activities by opening visibility into every product’s journey through the entire supply chain. In addition, the PLM solution’s 3D CAD capabilities cut down on sampling by moving a product further along with digital iterations before any physical sampling takes place, and also fit into Wolverine’s broader corporate 3D roadmap. 

Wolverine is also deploying the Centric Visual Assortment Board, designed to enable buyers, merchants, designers, planners, sourcing, sales and retail teams to view an assortment strategically in a visual pivot table fashion across all channels. Furthermore, the company is adding the Centric pricing solution to streamline pricing processes. 

“We are excited to have the Centric suite of tools on board at Wolverine,” said Dee Slater, CIO and senior VP of supply chain and shared services at Wolverine Worldwide. “I fully anticipate that our speed-to-market will increase, data accuracy will improve and it will free up time for users to focus on more strategic work rather than data entry.”

Wolverine has been working to enable decision-makers with enterprise data for some time. In 2020, the company began integrating First Insight’s Voice of the Customer predictive analytics solution across its portfolio in an effort to obtain near-real-time customer insight to aid product development, assortment, pricing and marketing.

And in 2022, the company adopted the Microsoft Azure Arc multi-cloud and on-premises management platform, with goals including increasing customer personalization and engagement across its portfolio of brands, as well as ensuring more stock availability and faster shipping. At that time, Wolverine also began transitioning to the cloud-based RISE with SAP ERP platform, running on Azure and the Microsoft cloud.

Based in Rockford, Mich. and established in 1883, Wolverine Worldwide operates across approximately 170 countries and territories around the world.