The pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on the importance of supply chain management in recent months, revealing vulnerabilities for many companies. Having comprehensive visibility into each stage of the product journey can help brands identify problems quickly. And being able to access these stages from a single platform can speed up this reaction process.
“As today’s consumer goods companies continue to be tested by the pandemic and the economic fallout, it has become abundantly clear that companies need to minimize disruptions and are seeking technology to seamlessly move products from concept to digital storefronts,” said Paul Magel, president of business applications and technology outsourcing division at CGS.
That is the purpose behind the launch of BlueCherry Next, a supply chain management platform from enterprise solution CGS. BlueCherry Next builds on the company’s previous BlueCherry solution, with a new digital-first focus on visibility into the supply chain. It was designed specifically for consumer goods brands, with the ability to handle the complex variety of SKUs associated with apparel and footwear.
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“A horizontal software solution that tries to serve too many industries can become complex and requires a number of either modifications or third-party add-ins to meet the current demands of these markets,” said Magel. “Specifically for apparel and footwear, BlueCherry Next was designed from the ground up with the complexity of those sectors in mind.”
The Next platform will first launch its Product Lifecycle Management solution, which is designed to be used by brands, retailers and manufacturers. There is an emphasis on accessibility; BlueCherry Next can be used from any device, with no need for a specific software application or download.
There is also an emphasis on making the software applicable for both B2B and B2C purposes, with the 3D functionality one example of this. Digital, 3D renders of product have been adopted at many companies within the footwear industry, due to their ability to reduce the need for physical prototyping and to improve the accuracy of designs shared with manufacturers.
Through the BlueCherry Next platform, brand users can upload and share their 3D renders with their chosen supply chain partners at the manufacturing level. These approved 3D assets can then be passed on to any retail partners within the same platform, for use in wholesale buying and eventually for e-commerce. This is representative of CGS’s broader efforts to integrate B2B and B2C relationship management into one place.
“As the business world evolves, large pre-season buys are the thing of the past — agility and rapidly meeting consumer demands are of utmost importance,” said Magel. “The platform needs to be able to connect with consumer sales data; efficiently handle both wholesale and e-commerce business models; and be able to natively handle product information, along with 3D images, for both product development and to push to consumer e-commerce sites.”