Probably the most frustrating thing I think for a designer is that you've got a vision in your head and then you feel like the prototype hasn't been executed right. So you've got to go back to the drawing board on it and you're trying to figure out where the communication of what's in your head hasn't been communicated to them. How have they got so far off the mark? Nine times out of 10, the factories do the wrong samples if they're not understanding, or if there could be a better way to communicate to them.
“Everyone in our office hates Dropbox.”
“We have a whole production meeting where we go through every single item. And when we were doing those meetings, it just became painful. “Does anyone know if that was approved? Oh, let me just check WhatsApp. Oh, let me check WeChat. Oh. It might be on this email.” Everybody’s got a lot to do, we’re extremely busy. We’ve got deadlines after deadlines. No one wants to sit there in a painful meeting where no one’s got any answers.” Luisa says.
Orlagh says “Everyone in our office hates Dropbox. It drives me insane.”
RIXO was also having problems dealing with the sheer number of emails as their styles increased. “It seems simple, but if you’re dealing with 150 styles, at some point you are just going to go into autopilot and forget to do things because you’ve got so many niggly bits that you need to remember to do.”
Getting Sampling right was becoming tricky
As a business focused on the quality of its product, sampling was a crucial part of its production process. “One of the biggest problems is you think you’re getting something. “Oh, that’s not what I wanted.” And you’ve got another few weeks of lead time to add in because you’ve got more fits to do, or you’ve got to wait for another fabric, another sample to come in the right fabric because the fabric affects the fit. Probably the most frustrating thing I think for a designer is that you’ve got a vision in your head. And then you feel like the prototype hasn’t been executed right. So you’ve got to go back to the drawing board on it and you’re trying to figure out where the communication of what’s in your head hasn’t been communicated to them.
Finding a structured system to work with their manufacturer had become cruical.
For RIXO, finding a way to collaborate effectively with their manufacturers and build a strong relationship was also important. Orlagh says “You want the workers, whoever’s involved in making your samples, to enjoy the process. No one’s going to want to prioritize the brand where the information is confusing and difficult to get through. So if you can make it easy for them to navigate through making the prototype, the better success you are going to have with 100% correct prototypes.”
“We just knew that we’re going to have more production, more styles. Understanding that we were going to get another admin person, then we’re like, well, why don’t we try SupplyCompass first and see if we can streamline the process in a way where everything’s in one place.”
The After: Intuitive Product Development and always knowing where everything is.
Software replaced: Dropbox, WeChat, WhatsApp, Excel, Powerpoint and Emails
The visual aspect of SupplyCompass drew them first. Orlagh says “It just simplifies the creative process. I think the communication piece around it is one of the best parts. You give something to your factory in a really concise way, that’s easy to digest.
If you’re sending tech packs after tech packs every season or every kind of designer does something a bit different, it’s easy to miss a certain component or a certain element. If you don’t keep a consistent format, the factory will miss things. Whereas in SupplyCompass, you’ve got set areas and it’s done in the same visual way. It doesn’t take me ages to try and find out where things are.”
User experience was also a crucial factor. “One of the biggest things I think is like the navigation of it. It’s easy to navigate. It’s something the supplier can get their head around as well.” Luisa says “I really like that when you’re doing the tech packs, you can add prints and components and go through them like a visual library. When you’re picking a fabric or a component, you’re not just scrolling down numbers or text, there’s a picture and a library attached. It’s so much more enjoyable to do because you’re picking pictures and you’re not picking from a drop-down off reference numbers.
Working remotely + collaboratively became much easier
What was also important was the fact that multiple members of their team could work on the same project at the same time even if they weren’t in the same physical space. “I think the collaborative approach is really good. And the fact that you can use the system with multiple users and they don’t have to be at the same physical place, but you’ve got confidence that everything’s in the one place. It’s smarter to have everything in one place because there’s less room for error.”
They conclude, “SupplyCompass is just making everything more seamless and streamlined. It’s extremely easy to use and the team is very supportive. It saved us a lot of time and we are a lot more organised than we ever were. It’s very easy on the eye. I feel like you could kind of teach yourself if you had to. It’s fool-proof.”
It just simplifies the creative process. I think the communication piece around it is one of the best parts. You give something to your factory in a really concise way, that's easy to digest. It's the visualization of what is usually quite a hard thing to navigate around your head.