Les Enphants Dressing the Children of Tomorrow with Lectra Fashion PLM
Les Enphants was originally established in Taiwan in 1971. After expanding to mainland China in the 1990s, the company carved out a sizable niche for itself in the country’s childrens wear market. Today, the Shanghai-based company’s Les Enphants and Nac Nac brands are sold in 1,788 retail outlets across China and its supply chain covers everything from design and sampling to production and retail.
Les Enphants has always strived to provide its pint-sized clientele with playful designs and functional clothing that put quality and comfort first, but the pressures of the fast-fashion marketplace and increased consumer demand following China’s new two-child policy, were making this increasingly difficult. The company needed to speed up its process and produce a wider variety of styles, but still keep its costs low enough to avoid pricing itself out of the market.
Les Enphants was already happy with the improvements that Lectra’s Kaledo and Modaris had brought to its design and pattern making departments, so choosing Lectra Fashion PLM to manage collection development seemed like the logical next step. The fashion-specific product lifecycle management platform made it easier to share product information across departments, giving the company better visibility over their entire process and facilitating a more collaborative workflow. Les Enphants also built and housed an extensive library of pattern templates within the PLM, speeding up the time it took to develop new collections and cutting down on errors. “Collection planning is now faster, prototyping is faster and we are more cost competitive. Lectra Fashion PLM has changed the way Les Enphants works,” says Céline U, Head of Merchandisi for the company.
Shanghai-based Les Enphants produces hundreds of collections every season for its Les Enphants and Nac Nac brands. The childrenswear company is committed to dressing China’s wee folk in fun, safe and comfortable clothing, but dramatic changes to the market since its launch almost 45 years ago were making this increasingly challenging. “The impact of fast fashion and e-commerce had put us under increasing pressure,” explains Celine U, Head of Merchandising. “We needed help.”
Solutions Designed for Fashion Business:
Les Enphants decided that a PLM platform would give them the control over collection development that they needed to keep up with the marketplace, but the question was, which one? “We had two main requirements when choosing our PLM: we wanted a provider who specialized in fashion and we wanted a system that was user-friendly,” says Ni Heli, Head of I.T., explaining that the company chose to work with Lectra because of its proven track record in the fashion industry and its software’s easy-to-use interface. After conducting an in-depth survey of the various systems on the market, Les Enphants decided Lectra Fashion PLM was the one best suited to their actual workflow. “Lectra’s PLM provides us with tools for managing product data that other generic design solutions don’t offer,” attests Qian Wenjie, Design Manager.
More Time for Actual Designing:
“When it comes to design, there is an increasing demand for more style variety. At the same time, we need to make sure these styles satisfy our customers’ needs. The job is becoming increasingly difficult,” continues Qian. “With Lectra, we’ve built an extensive library of basic pattern templates so that even junior designers are less likely to make serious errors.” With the new PLM in place, Les Enphants’ design department was able to standardize its processes and cut down on time lost due to errors and miscommunication. Because the entire collection process is housed within a common platform, at each stage, team members can be certain that they are looking at the most recent version of the product they are working on. “Lectra Fashion PLM helps our designers save a lot of time on repetitive tasks, so they have more time to be creative and come up with styles that are on trend,” observes Shi Mei Hua, Design Manager. “Lectra Fashion PLM helps our designers save time on repetitive tasks, so they have more time to be creative.”
A Win-Win Partnership:
Persuading an entire design department to change the way they have always worked is a daunting task, but I.T. manager Ni Heli worked closely with Lectra’s experts to ensure that everybody had the information they needed to ease into the transition with as little disruption to their activity as possible. “Lectra provided us with a lot of support, both in terms of technical assistance and industry expertise,” Ni recalls. “This ensured that the project implementation and launch went smoothly.”
Thanks to Lectra Fashion PLM, Les Enphants now has full visibility over its collection planning, design and product development processes, with teams that work together collaboratively to make sure the brand’s clothing not only stays fresh and original, but also that it gets to stores on time and on budget. Les Enphants is so pleased with the project’s outcome that it trusts Lectra to help with new challenges it may encounter as it grows its business. “When we first started out, it felt like just a business relationship,” says Celine U. “But after going through the implementation process with Lectra and using their solutions, our relationship has evolved to become a win-win partnership.”