23 June, 2010

Lectra: interview with the CEO, Mr Daniel Harari

Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solution which helps to automate, streamline and accelerate product design, development and manufacturing processes for various industries like fashion, apparel, accessories, footwear etc. There products and services are being used by 100% of French and 90% of Italian luxury goods companies- brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Christian Dior and many more.

Lectra has opened a subsidiary in Bangalore to help develop new sales opportunities and strengthen relationships with its existing customers. Recently, Lectra announced the launch of a dedicated “Cutting Room Transformation” initiative for manufacturers in India. We speak to Lectra and its CEO Mr. Daniel Harari about the past achievements and future plans for this innovating and growing organization in the field of fashion and apparel.

Apparel: How was the idea for Lectra Systems conceptualized?

Lectra: Lectra was founded in 1973 in France by André Harari, chairman of the Board of Directors. Originally this company was known as Compagnie Financière du Scribe, a venture capital firm specializing in technology companies founded by my brother André Harari. A need of innovation in technology was felt and anticipated in the market. Hence, Lectra ventured into improving current technologies and developing new ones,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO. Initially, it started by offering CAD systems to the apparel industry. In 1985 the company added CAM products to its offer, and so it was a CAD-CAM company dedicated to the apparel industry. In 1993 the company expanded its reach to all the markets using textiles and leather, including upholstery, footwear, automotive, aeronautic etc.

Apparel: Give us a brief account of its business: from inception till today.

Lectra: Lectra is the world leader in integrated technology solutions—softwares, automated cutting systems and associated services—for industries using textiles, leather, industrial fabrics and composite materials. Lectra develops and markets a complete range of solutions that automate, streamline and accelerate its customers’ product design, development, manufacturing and management processes.

This range is tailored to each of the global markets that Lectra serves: fashion (apparel, accessories, footwear), automotive (car seats and interiors, airbags), and furniture industries, as well as other sectors such as the aeronautical and marine industries, wind energy, and personal protective equipment.

Apparel: Lectra has been working closely with Fashion, Apparel and Textiles industries for over three decades. How does the company associate itself with these industries?

Lectra: “We are very close to these industries. Over the years we have delivered many innovations that changed product design, development and manufacturing in the apparel industry. With over 23,000 customers, we have built very strong relationships with key operators in the industry, as well as with other small and medium sized companies,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO.

Apparel: How will the “Cutting Room Transformation” initiatve help the Indian market?

Lectra: “Indian manufacturers operate in an increasingly competitive environment and are under pressure to improve time to market and reduce costs, while expanding their product offer. Indian markets are undergoing rapid transformation in order to supply both growing domestic and export demands. At Lectra, we believe it is our role to help our customers overcome the challenges their industries face. India is a key market for Lectra and our initiative will help Indian manufacturers to implement world class technologies to stay profitable in the challenging market situation. We will capitalize on Lectra’s added-value solutions, service and consulting and to create a clear competitive advantage for our customers and help them turn challenges into opportunities,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO.

Apparel: Give details about Lectra’s software used in the apparel industry which were discussed and showcased in the latest SPESA EXPO, May, 2010.

Lectra: Lectra software is dedicated to design, to the cutting room and to product lifecycle management. It guarantees users precise global control over all activities.

Our Vector FX and MX cutting series, the company's range of cutting solutions from single-ply and matched fabric cutting to high-ply cutting of denim and automotive materials are popular in the apparel industry.

For the fashion market, Lectra’s PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solution gives decision makers a comprehensive overview of the value chain. Its PLM range, specifically designed for the fashion industry, not only cuts collection costs and development times, but also improves product quality and stimulates creativity. Lectra Fashion PLM is the only extended enterprise solution designed for the fashion industry incorporating all steps in the product design and development process, including colour specification, textile design, style design, merchandising and pattern engineering. Also included is a plug-in option to save and classify sketches directly from Adobe Illustrator CS3/4 directly into Lectra Fashion PLM. These sketches are then not only shared throughout the design and development process but can also be modified, filled with colours and fabrics and used to create boards and other communication tools.

Kaledo V2R2, a professional textile and fashion design platform, which will help creative teams, accelerate the design process while improving communication and collaboration across the supply chain. Kaledo encourages artistic creativity, allowing the design of unique prints, knits and weaves, while structuring the collection creation process and facilitating the exchange of information internal and external to the design environment. It will benefit the design and development team by collaborating with X-Rite's ‘ColorMunki’ which reads colors from physical samples directly into all Kaledo modules and allows access to the full range of ‘Pantone’ colour references.

Optiplan® cutting room management software enables companies to take control of fabric stocks, as well as take into account the availability of raw materials across multiple locations. Optiplan allows production managers to select the most efficient markers, propose alternate solutions, simulate costs and anticipate new production orders.

Lectra's intelligent cutting room offer, the Vector® automated cutter achieves maximum productivity and material savings when connected with Lectra's planning, nesting and spreading solutions. The Vector provides unmatched productivity, flexibility and precision, adapted to all end products, including the most intricate lingerie models to the thickest materials such as denim.

Modaris 3D Fit, the highest-performance virtual 3D prototyping solution, enables pattern makers, designers, developers and sales and marketing teams to simulate and visualize their models in 3D on a virtual mannequin, using the color motifs and fabrics. With Modaris 3D Fit, the look and fit of a garment can be verified, along with a style and entire collection validated. DesignConcept is Lectra's 3D/2D conception and industrialization solution dedicated to advanced materials.

Apparel: What is the size of the market for your software in the apparel business? What kind of international reach does Lectra have, in the apparel industry? How is the market evolving?

Lectra: Lectra serves over 23,000 customers in more than 100 countries. It has over 1400 employees in various subsidiaries. It registered $214 million in 2009 revenues. Lectra earns 63% of its revenues from the apparel industry itself. The company is listed on Euronext Paris. We are also one of the few companies present worldwide in technology solutions and therefore, a good observer of the market’s characteristics and trends. The future of this market looks very promising as there is a lot of scope for innovation and development in the apparel industry. “Bringing the right product to market at the right time is crucial to staying ahead in the field.” said Daniel Harari.

Apparel: Have you got competitors in your field, and how do you see the competitive landscape evolving? What makes Lectra’s services and products the best among its competitors?

Lectra: “Lectra may have competition on one line of product, but as a whole, there is not much competition. American companies did try to give us some competition in the past but presently we are the leading solution providers. Lectra services and products are the best in the industry as we have invested more than 88.6 million euros in research and development and have improved our ability to constantly anticipate the needs of the market, based on 36 years’ of experience,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO.

Apparel: What other key trends do you see in technology adaptation and business processes evolving in the future in the apparel market?

Lectra: “The biggest trend of this decade is the spread of technologies globally, intensification of the use of design, 3D CAD software and PLM. Certainly, new technologies will emerge but we will be able to measure their full impact in the next 10 years. We see Lectra at the helm of this revolution,” said Daniel Harari, Lectra CEO.

Parimita Chakravorty

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