Century Martial Arts, a martial arts gear company based in Oklahoma, USA, has revealed how its products – from kettlebells to kendo armour – are developed to keep up with the fast changing fitness market by using its PLM system to keep everything together.
Founded in 1976 by Karate champion Mike Dillard, the company has since grown to be a worldwide leader in designing and manufacturing equipment for martial arts like uniforms, belts, pads, headgear and punching bags – including its now famous BOB mannequin.
Century’s VP product development Kris Horner, explains that the speed at which the market is moving has provided the impetus to accelerate product development.
“We found the systems we had in place that worked 20 years ago when our company was much smaller, don’t work today. It’s difficult to push information back and forth from one department to another; that’s where we were lacking.”
“Martial arts is a traditional business that tends to evolve rather slowly but Century has always been a very innovative company in this space,”
“We’ve created a product that’s probably more famous than the Century name itself, called BOB – a mannequin that you put on top of one of these freestanding bases and you punch it.
“It is important for Century to continue with its heritage to continue to develop new products.”
The strong increase of their e-commerce business also served to move Century more quickly toward digital transformation with PLM, choosing Centric PLM, a company majority owned by Dassault Systèmes.
With a strong focus on consumer goods, Centric offers a highly visual experience for collaboration and decision-making that can feed into workflows across the product development process.
“Giving our team the ability to communicate in a more efficient way— a place where all the data related to products resides in the same place—we believe will accelerate our product development process and keep us more competitive in the markets that we work in,” says Horner.
Quality of the products is also important: “Not a lot of companies sell products that people are going to kick, punch and hit for years on end!”