Crystal Group brings fast fashion to retailers in less than 24 hours using Microsoft technologies
You may have noticed that it seems like your favorite retailers are magically stocking store shelves with the latest trends in fashion at record speeds. You can attribute this to “fast fashion,” and it is revolutionizing the garment manufacturing industry. Instead of a clothing manufacturer producing a single style, fashion retailers now expect a single order that consists of hundreds of styles.
Windows 10, along with Microsoft cloud services, is enabling Crystal Group to digitally transform its processes to help modernize its workforce and to become more agile with the realities of fast fashion.
Before fast fashion, you could wait months for the latest fashion trend to debut on the runways and to reach your hometown. To stay ahead of the “fast fashion” trend, Crystal Group of Companies [CG], a leading international garment manufacturer and FORTUNE 17 company based in Hong Kong, is deploying Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite across 4,500 employees. Windows 10, along with Microsoft cloud services, is enabling Crystal Group to digitally transform its processes to help modernize its workforce and to become more agile with the realities of fast fashion. Through this technology, Crystal Group has achieved accelerated sales cycles and significantly improving design concepts to protype garments in days versus months for its global customers like Victoria Secret and in in-time customers such as Gap, H&M, Levi’s.
“Fashion is changing all the time and our role is to help customers stay one step ahead of consumer preferences,” says Karl Ting, General Manager, Information Services Department, Crystal Group. “Today, consumers choose from a plethora of styles online, and they expect to see the same variety in stores. This is partly responsible for ‘fast fashion,’ pioneered by retailers like H&M and Zara.”
Previously, designers would travel to a customer’s office juggling multiple devices and folders brimming with style printouts to work on. While back at the Crystal office, an assistant designer converted the drawings into a soft copy and then uploaded them into the quotation system. That process took several days before a customer signed off on a design.
To make design concepts a reality in less than 24 hours versus weeks, CG employees now use the following custom, fashion-forward apps built on the universal Windows 10 platform to expedite its entire sales cycle.
- Style Library app on their Surface Pro 4 to show their customers the company’s latest library of styles. Together, they can use the Surface Pen to quickly draw on the screen and finalize their designs. This process took up to 7 days and can now be done in 12 hours. Once a design is signed off, the Crystal merchandiser uses the Style Library app to quickly convert the order into a quotation record.
- Quotation app: Once the order is in the system, a sales manager reviews and approves the quote via the Quotation Approval app on their Surface Pro 4 or Microsoft Lumia phone.
- Sales Hub Apps: Employees use the app as one-stop-shop for customer data where they can track the go-to-market dates for sales, marketing, research and development and merchandisers.
“These Windows 10 apps are going to set us apart in the market,” shared Ting. ”Our designers, who are working with customers in the United States or Europe can instantly upload finalized styles. The faster customers see their concept become garments, the happier they are.”
Windows 10 Security Safeguards Customer Data
With a more on-the-go workforce, CG strengthened security and data protection for its employees carrying classified designs and intellectual property on their devices as they move from one office to another. “Security is our top concern in an ever-changing IT landscape,” says Carol Tai, senior manager, Infrastructure and Operations at the Crystal Group of Companies. CG has deployed Windows 10 security features like BitLocker to encrypt corporate data on employees’ personal and corporate devices – and Credential Guard and Windows Hello to provide a stronger layer of security and authentication. Azure Right Management has also provided end-to-end information security, no matter who an employee shares it with.
CG employees are also excited about Continuum, which turns any phone running the Windows 10 Mobile operating system into a big screen projector to showcase their designs to customers. Previously, CG employees had to balance multiple devices to a client’s office, making presentations more challenging as employees switched from device to device. Now, they can use a dock or adapter to connect their Windows Phone to a TV or monitor. “Having a phone as a desktop using Continuum is revolutionary for our business. We’ve reduced the number of devices employees need to carry – without compromising productivity,” says Ting.
“The latest desktop and mobile operating system and cloud computing technologies from Microsoft are delivering a suite of modern tools to help us meet the accelerated demands of fast fashion and stay ahead of the competition,” says Ting.
We’re proud that with Windows 10 and Microsoft Azure, CG has differentiated itself in the highly competitive retail manufacturing industry. Visit their customer story page for more details about Crystal’s digital transformation.