DECATHLON designs and produces equipment for more than 95 sports in 70 countries. Its mission is to make sports accessible to all, providing good quality products. The 40-year-old company is expanding rapidly worldwide, and aims to have a presence in 140 countries. How is DECATHLON preparing to face this challenge in terms of packaging, with the fairly recent installation of DALIM ES? We had a conversation with Florent Lagant, responsible for DECATHLON’s digital packaging.
Could you describe your role at DECATHLON?
I work in the Packaging Business Unit. We develop packaging for sale, packaging for shipping, instructions and labeling (for example, on textiles). My role is to provide a digital service offering, through development or integration. This service aims to facilitate collaboration, and make processes efficient, for internal and external clients. Our internal clients are the packaging development teams (approximately forty engineers and twenty graphic designers) who work on the design of new packaging. This is followed by a production team, for whom we must maintain effective collaboration tools. These tools integrate all the parameters of the package, from its design to production, including cost controls, and validation of B.A.T. For external customers, we find solutions to make the packaging or the leaflets interactive, for example.
How does DALIM ES help you achieve these goals?
DALIM ES helps us to work collaboratively. We use its workflow functions a lot. Previously, many communications were done informally, often by email; we had validations that were done on printed proofs or samples; there was no centralization, and no job history available. DALIM ES helps us to standardize the process and to systematize it, taking into account all of the production stages. Then, it allows us to capitalize and automate a certain part of the tasks—such as archiving, for example.
Historically, at DECATHLON, packaging was delegated to our suppliers for a long time. Then we created a packaging team about ten years ago. This team grew very quickly, first creating priorities on the consistency and performance of the group, as well as on production quality. The need to optimize the packaging processes came later.
What led you to choose DALIM ES?
I've done a lot of comparison work, and what I like about it is its versatility. On the one hand, there are tools that are very packaging-oriented, but that have difficulty accommodating anything other than artwork management. And on the other hand, BPM Business Process Management (BPM) tools, are very workflow oriented, but only in an administrative way.
Concerning the package, the flexibility of DALIM ES allows me to manage not only artwork but also technical documents, die-cuts and pricing files—so it is a more open system. Its integration also seemed to be simpler than large packaging-oriented systems, which are rather closed and not very open to competing technologies. Regarding BPM, DALIM ES is not strictly speaking a BPM tool, but it manages to serve that purpose, anyway. In addition, it offers a set of automation services that are not possible with other Business Process Model Notation (BPMN) standard tools. Thus, DALIM ES allows not only the management of the workflow but also its dynamic transformation, during the workflow.
It is this set of reasons—versatility, flexibility, openness, and a complete solution—which made us choose DALIM ES.
What is the impact of DALIM ES on your key indicators?
It is too early to talk about the impact on key indicators, but for us, who wanted to standardize our trading methods, we can talk about capitalization. Similarly, standardization of the process, even if it is not quantified, is an objective that DALIM ES allows us to achieve. What we are currently developing—and which will soon be available—is the supervision aspect. This will provide an estimate of the time taken to complete each step, the number of returns, and the quality rate. It will allow us to be in a process of continuous improvement. We couldn't do that before because of the lack of process performance measurement tools. Thanks to the options offered by DALIM ES, like Kibana, we can now measure this efficiency. This is a step forward that will allow us to achieve real productivity gains.
What are your next goalsand how can DALIM ES help you achieve them?
We are facing two major challenges: the environment and digitization, and this does not only concern packaging!
Even on the environment, DALIM ES helps us. Thanks to the system, we can organize the collection of FSC numbers. We use the workflow configured for the validation of the proofs: the supplier adds the FSC logo with its certification number on the artwork.
The other big issue is digitization. The DALIM ES digital asset management (DAM) solution makes it easier to distribute all of our notices worldwide on our websites and support sites. In the future we will develop flows for specific, purely digital, components, with no paper equivalent.
Packaging… without paper? Can you tell us more?
Yes, instructions, labels, etc. For years, product fliers have been material components, in A4 format, folded and inserted into the product. Then we reused our designs to make them available on the web. Today we are considering purely digital instructions, neither A4 nor PDF, which are better adapted to smartphones, tablets… truly digital native.
By using augmented reality, for example?
For example, and without necessarily going to very complex developments. But we are actually preparing that sort of thing.
Do you have a final comment to make about your customer relationship with DALIM SOFTWARE?
Yes, I appreciate this spirit of openness that I mentioned at the beginning. This is reflected technically in the tools, for which there are no integration problems, and it can also be seen in the management of DALIM SOFTWARE and in our relationships, with openness to third-party contacts. Everything revolves around the packaging process, and they are open in the way they work.