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French clothing manufacturer, Lemahieu, chooses Infor to support growth

French clothing manufacturer, Lemahieu, chooses Infor to support growth

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French clothing and underwear designer and manufacturer, Lemahieu, started its Digital Transformation with Infor to integrate complex business processes within a cloud solution, streamlining its production operations and benefitting its entire ecosystem, from users to consumers and distributors.

Lemahieu, which has a strong social, environmental and local identity, has chosen Infor’s multi-tenant cloud ERP solution dedicated to the fashion and textile industries: Infor Cloudsuite Fashion.

Founded in 1947 and based in the Hauts de France region, Lemahieu was established as a family business with a strong local identity. Proud of its know-how and its responsible brand image, the company has embraced each of the successive revolutions linked to technological innovations, particularly in IT.

Since 2019 and the takeover of the company by Martin Breuvart and Loïc Baert, Lemahieu has experienced significant growth, going from 90 to 130 employees in less than 36 months. The company is now engaged in a project to restructure its production processes based on Infor CloudSuite Fashion solution. This restructuring is in order to better respond to the dynamics of the market and to the requirements of quality and social and environmental responsibility that Lemahieu has imposed on itself and to which the brand’s customers fully adhere.

“We are strongly attached to the values we display and which, obviously, generate a positive dynamic in the textile industry that we want to be local, original, respectful and of high quality,” said Loïc Baert, Lemahieu’s Co-Director. “The goal for us with the Infor ERP implementation project is continuing to strengthen our image as a manufacturer by adopting increasingly controlled production processes.”

Behind the image lies a complex industrial dynamic for Lemahieu, which controls the entire production chain, from product design to manufacturing, quality control and shipping. “All of the data and information generated by our various businesses at each stage of the manufacturing process must be immediately usable in order to accelerate our processes thanks to a global and real-time vision,” Baert said. “We aim not to increase production in terms of scale, but to diversify it in order to meet the specific expectations of customers seeking to stand out with original and personalised products.”

Lemahieu assessed more than 20 software solutions before choosing Infor Cloudsuite Fashion. Without an in-house CIO, the company worked closely with a consultant and its production manager, Alexandre Payoux, who was already familiar with Infor M3 (the ERP backbone of Infor CloudSuite Fashion). The company undertook the integration of Cloudsuite Fashion in close collaboration with Infor’s partner, Authentic Group.

“The project was ambitious for a small business used to processes inherited from ageing solutions but strongly anchored in the company’s practices and culture,” said Fabrice Caumette, Authentic Group’s Operations Manager. “That said, the numerous references in the fashion and textile sector displayed by Infor – including Zadig&Voltaire, Orchestra, Chausport and Dresco – reassured Lemahieu of the product’s ability to embrace its requirements and to integrate its businesses within an agile, modern and scalable tool.”

For Infor, the project is also ambitious in that it must demonstrate the ability of an enterprise solution to meet the demanding requirements of a company whose relatively modest size conceals an organisation of business processes as numerous as they are complex.

“Lemahieu is not just another player in one of the world’s most dynamic fashion sectors,” said Philippe Maillet, Infor SMB and Channel Sales Director for France. “The quality of its products, resulting from a dynamic organisation – from design to production to shipping – and its desire to respond quickly to specific orders from customers who are very attached to strong socio-environmental values are all elements that must be integrated into the IT project. Infor Cloudsuite Fashion is the ideal solution to meet these challenges, not only because of its functionalities dedicated to the textile industry, but also because of its cloud deployment mode.”

Loïc Baert, Co-Director of Lemahieu told Intelligent SME.tech more about the implementation.

Why did you choose Infor Cloudsuite Fashion?

We went to a fashion expo and saw three different options. Infor was one of them and we liked what we saw. Lemahieu was also advised by an external consultant who pushed for Infor. Even if the Infor solution seemed a bit ‘too big’ for Lemahieu (a SMB), it was the one that could best accompany its growth and also integrate all complexities of production processes, as Lemahieu does not go for quantity but for diversity of product. We also work with loads of local providers and needed a solution that could manage the complexity of those relationships

How has it affected day-to-day processes?

It is still not deployed, we had to push back full integration (for production processes) to March 2022 (it started in March 2021). The step-by-step plan is to have no disruption and to extend the whole IT (with a product lifecycle management, some 3D design solutions and a special eye to detect defects in the goods) At the moment, we are still teaching our teams to use the solution.

How will it help you diversify your production?

As it is, the solution is perfectly tailored for the kind of production processes Lemahieu is dealing with. It has many standard features (above 85%) which meet existing demands, especially when it comes to integrating the whole network of complexities (fabrics, processes, relationships with providers) and the Infor team is working on the rest to integrate some specifics.

How does it help you respond to the dynamics of the market?

The solution is speeding up most of the processes thanks to the clear vision of production schemes – since it’s well integrated to already existing processes it gives us insights on where and how to enhance and increase agility. Also as we are integrating the solution on multiple devices (including mobile ones) the communication between departments is faster and more efficient (from design to production and shipment).

Can you tell me more about your strong social identity – what makes up this identity?

The ‘made in France’ is very important to Lemahieu – three years ago we acquired the company with a clear ambition to create a new dynamic based on a local (regional) ecosystem. We really wanted to create a new economy in the region (new jobs, new companies). We strongly believe that it is possible to manufacture locally and to generate more opportunities around the business.

How does the company make sure it is environmentally friendly?

We have a strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy – we aim to be 100% local and eco-friendly (meet carbon neutrality standards) by 2030, use 100% of organic cotton at the end of the year (2021) and we are putting in place many initiatives to get the B Corp label in 2024 (prestigious CSR label in France).

How has the brand changed since it was founded in 1947?

It used to be a family-owned business – started in the basement of a house to become one of France’s most prolific underwear manufacturer. It changed hands for decades but remained strongly attached to local production standards. It was the first French company from the North Region to receive the ‘Origine France Garantie’ label in 2012. It was acquired three years ago to give a definitive 100% locally produced direction.

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