Dassault Systemes just announced it has signed an agreement with Portland-based consultants, i-generator to “strengthen its position as an industry leader in the PLM market for retail, footwear and apparel industry.” Footwear? Retail? Dassault? Oh yes.
i-generator is a footwear creation services consultancy, specialising in applied research (ergonomics, biomechanics, and neurology), biomedical engineering, mechanical and industrial design, development and sourcing. They’ve worked with Timberland, Nike, Scott, Merrell and a little leftfield for them, Norton Motorbikes. i-generator will work with the Enovia team to deliver Enovia-based solutions to global footwear manufacturers. Dassault already has two commercially available, RFA related off-the-shelf, PLM products. Enovia Apparel Accelerator for Design & Development and the Enovia Apparel Accelerator for Sourcing and Production. This agreement should see these expanded upon.
While Dassault’s name might not be a name synonymous with the Retail, Footwear and Apparell (RFA) world, the acquisition of MatrixOne brought the company a raft of customers. RFA is something that many traditional PLM vendors are becoming interested in, as their traditional user based starts to mature. Dassault has MatrixOne (now merging into Enovia), PTC has FlexPLM which I assume is now being integrated into the Windchill product line. and there’s specialised PLM tools as well as well as those working up-in-the-cloud world, Zdesign and its Zweave system spring to mind.
The RFA is a pretty raw industry in terms of technology adoption, with data and workflows being highly fragmented, typically globally dispersed and working with large amount of data to manage. Consider a single training shoe. Between 10 to 12 different sizes for both men and women, regional variations, different colourways. Then consider component count. Different textiles, different suppliers, different components, soles, uppers, lowers, trim, stitching, assembly. It’s ripe for PLM and Dassault looks to be creating some very interesting partnerships to dive into it.