CAMPBELL, Calif.—KEEN, Inc. the Portland, Oregon-based manufacturer and retailer of shoes, sandals, boots, bags, and apparel, has selected Centric Software for product lifecycle management (PLM), the company announced recently. Centric Software is PLM software for fashion, retail, footwear, luxury, outdoor, and consumer goods companies.

KEEN’s first product, the Newport sandal, appeared on shelves almost 15 years ago. The company has since expanded to a range of outdoor, work, kids, and adventure wear, from bags to work boots to children’s shoes. KEEN sells its products through its own branded retail and online stores, as well as via a network of global retail partners and distributors. The company prides itself on its values of quality, integrity, health, caring, and pioneering, and reflects these in its commitment to environmental causes.

KEEN reported that its fast growth prompted it to look for a system to lend structure and improve efficiency during this period of expansion. As Hari Perumal, KEEN’s vice president, global technical operations, explained, the time was right for change.

“We have grown pretty dramatically since 2003,” Perumal said in a press release. “Because we manufacture, source, and distribute on a global scale, we deal with a lot of complexity. Our design and development teams are spread across multiple regions to be in tune with consumer tastes and expectations in different markets as diverse as Japan, Europe, and Canada. We have been running the business in the same way since the company was founded, using spreadsheets, word documents, emails, and line drawings, and now we need a system to bring all these together.

“Product developers spend time chasing spreadsheets rather than getting their real, productive work done,” Perumal added. “Multiply that by the number of countries we are in, and the amount of time lost just explodes. The lead time for development is drawn out because we do not have clear visibility into our KPIs (Key Performance Indicator.) We are at a threshold where we need strong foundation systems to scale the business up and support our aggressive growth plans. We are confident that this is the right moment to implement Centric PLM and that it will enable us to grow our business.

“We chose Centric because their team has a very deep knowledge of the footwear and apparel space and because everyone loved the ease of using Centric PLM. The solution is very intuitive and the user interface is so simple. Centric has worked with many footwear companies, so they have tons of best practices and lessons learned. Centric has taken these and applied them to out-of-the-box features, which is very enticing for a company like ours that is using a PLM solution for the first time.

“We want to bring all of the global teams together, so there are no discrete people working in corners of the world that are invisible to each other,” Perumal continued. “We also want to break down separate systems to help people figure out their workload. With Centric, we can make all these emails and spreadsheets obsolete, so that people will come to work, log into Centric, and, based on their roles and responsibilities, get a dashboard and an automated workflow that will tell them what the next steps are. We’re looking forward to having business intelligence reports to tell us what progress is being made and what the pain points are, so that we can address these early on.”

Perumal believes KEEN and Centric are at the beginning of a productive, long-term working relationship. “We expect Centric PLM to have a positive influence on our business,” Perumal said.

“We are delighted to begin our collaboration with KEEN,” said Chris Groves, president and CEO of Centric Software. “KEEN’s rate of growth is impressive and a testament to the company’s dedication and innovative approach. We look forward to sharing our expertise in the PLM footwear and apparel arena to help KEEN enter their next phase of growth.”

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