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Digitalisation Romans CAD – Digital Solutions for footwear and leathergoods by total integration from Fashion to Factory
Richard Smith | 04 March 2019

Question: To start with, can you brief us about yourself and Romans CAD?
RCS I am RCS Marc PEDEBOY one of the founding partners of Strategies a French company which has been in the software business for the last 25 years. Over these years we have developed collaborative solution for various industries such as real estate, mechanical and fashion. As the digitalisation of the fashion industry is becoming more demanding, we are bringing all our expertise in collaborative engineering to the footwear market. Our portfolio of customers ranges from big companies to small design offices, making our solution the de facto standard in the footwear and leathergoods industries
Question: What makes Romans CAD’s services and products the envy of peers and the pride of customers?
Jean-Marc:  Consumers' growing demand for 'fast fashion' is a real game-changer. Pressure is on at the factory level, as factories now have to not only deliver comfortable and stylish products at attractive prices, but also do this at unprecedented speed. What would make us most proud would be to see footwear companies implementing ROMANS CAD PLATFORM so that they can match other industries such as automotive and aerospace, on a digital strategy level.  
Question: CAD/CAM capabilities have emerged from being standalone business processes to become an integrated part of the entire supply chain. What other key trends do you see in technology adaptation and business processes to be evolving in the coming decade? 
Jean-Marc:  Today in the fast fashion world, companies are moving from 2 collections per year, to 4 or even more. With Romans CAD platform, we are making the new paradigm from Fashion to Factories a reality. Taking stock of what is going on currently in the market, it is clear that digitalisation in the industry is happening. Mainly, brands are producing the tech book, with various tools such as 3D or 2D sketch tools, then sending this information to the factories, for sampling and production. Factories then build samples and produce patterns, grading and nesting, mainly in 2D. In the middle of that is the sourcing and material database sitting on different systems such as ERP/PLM. What are some of the problems encountered? The main issue is that people are working in silos, which makes processes slow and inefficient by current standards. Secondly, the quality of the 2D/3D information is not high enough to be reused for manufacturing. Lastly, there is a lack of integration between 3D/2D CAD tools and the material database. There has been the case of designers copying attributes (data from the CAD files) to the ERP for pre-costing. This leads to numerous typos, and is time-consuming. The solutions include full collaboration between brands and factories. Furthermore, the cloud infrastructure can give us great flexibility to deploy integrated solutions regardless of location, to share the same information through a common database, as well as to integrate brand and factory departments. And finally, it allows flexibility in terms of task allocation, once factories have scaled up in terms of efficiency. 


Question: How can CAD solutions enhance product development and production process integration for the Footwear and Leather industry? 
Jean-Marc:  First of we are moving beyond CAD to what I called F.I.M as FOOTWEAR INFORMATION MODEL, which is an integration of 3D/2DCAD with Material database which allows to connect: People; Trends; Material; Design; Pattern cutting; stitching Processes and Sketching; Designing, Cutting, Scanning and Stitching Technologies; 3D Scanners; Xrite material; 3D Printers Cutting; cloud computing. I must add it takes one hour to manufacture a shoe but sometimes more than 250 days for design and development; we have been able to reduce that time taken to 140 days and are aiming at 90 days.
Question: What is your forecast for the revolution in market conditions over the years?
Jean-Marc:  E-commerce and big retailers are game changers. Digitalisation with 3D realistically rendered model will enable brands: 1. To connect brands with their users, by sending 3D virtual models to the market place in order to detect trends, before going to actual manufacturing, minimizing costly mistakes. 2. To offer a new and realistic shopping experience, by making From Fashion to Factory a reality.
Question: For markets with and without technological know-how, what strategies help CAD/CAM make headway in both?
Jean-Marc:  It is fair to say that today it is an expensive technology for most of the companies. Nevertheless, it is the way retailers are going so either you follow the digitalisation of the processes or you will die. The solution is to work closely with the governmental institution in order to develop services bureau and design centres which can help in the change.
Personalisation is increasing overall in the fashion sector. Sourcing trends are also changing with nearshoring and the rise of home-grown products. Are these new challenges being considered for fashion IT solutions?
We are working on these areas using not only our core technology, but AI, especially when it comes to identifying the best last for maximum comfort in a given population.


Question: Are your products expensive as compared to the other similar products? How do you justify your price?
Jean-Marc:  The power of our solution is to deliver with the capabilities of designing very realistic 3D models and not only speaking about our integrated rendering engine, but also the precision in the data model requires sending the same 3D model for manufacturing. As an example, we are working with a major sports brand to send pattern data to stitching machines in a Industry 4.0 concept. Obviously, these did not happen overnight and it is a long process of listening to customers and fine-tuning the solution. Romans CAD platform has these capabilities and can give you the opportunities to go from Fashion to Factory while maintaining a sustainable supply chain. Furthermore, the footwear market is a niche market, and can classify the solutions available in 3 categories such as Standard Design tools which achieve a certain level of automation, but fall short of expectation, when it comes to real footwear operation. 2. Former 2D Design tools for the footwear space but they fall short in terms of 3D precision. 3. Collaborative platforms which allow the requirement of FOOTWEAR TO FACTORY to be achieved - i.e. integration of 3D/2D and MATERIAL DATABASE RCS is the only solution available on the market. Here are some ROI obtained with RCS to back up our comments
Design Development Ratio
• 75-90% reduction in time creating data
• 75-90% reduction in time to process Design to Pattern
Sample Development Ratio
• 75-90% reduction in time re-keying data
• 60-75% reduction in time creating accurate samples
BOM On-Time and Accurate
• 40-60% reduction in time re-keying data
• 60-80% reduction in time printing and exporting accurate data.
Samples Delivered On-Time
• 50-70% reduction in time authoring designs
• 40-60% reduction in time status/meeting/reviewing
Question: What are the challenges and opportunities in the Footwear and Leather industry?
Jean-Marc:  One of the big challenged of footwear companies is to understand that they need to jump on the digitalisation process, as quickly as possible otherwise they will be facing a serious problem. But trying to connect brands with factories, in other words trying to build a collaborative supply chain for Design and operations, will create a level of transparency which needs to be anticipated and integrated when implementing such a platform. Today we are selling a collaborative project not only CAD software
Question: Where is the most demand in Asia? Which are your biggest and upcoming markets?
Jean-Marc:  I will try to give you a time frame: 1. Right now China is becoming a big market for us, since the platform connects, major brand retailers with their factories. 2. I would say that Vietnam and Bangladesh are on the rise. 3. India but it seems they are not ready to invest in such platforms unless there are big clients asking them to do so.

Just to prove our commitment, here are the conferences we will attend this year:
1.    Feb 1 2 3, Chennai, India: India International Leather Fair
2.    Feb 20 21, Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam Footwear summit
3.    March 12: Hong Kong: THE Global Footwear Executive Summit
4.    March 13 14 15 APLF