Cowabunga, Dude: O’Neill Standardizes on Lawson M3 for European Operations
November 4, 2008 Alex Woodie
The European division of surfboard, wetsuit, and clothing manufacturer O’Neill is implementing Lawson Software‘s M3 suite of ERP applications on the IBM System i server. The roll-out of M3 Fashion is aimed at synchronizing the manufacturer’s supply chain operations, the software company announced last week.
O’Neill is one of the original “surf brands” and traces it roots back to the 1950s, when Jack O’Neill opened his first surf shop in San Francisco. There, O’Neill sold some of the first crude wetsuits, which he glued together from foam. His son, Pat, is also credited with inventing another vital component of a surfer’s kit: the surfboard leash, known affectionately as the “kook cord.”
Since then, O’Neill has diversified beyond wetsuits and leashes, and today manufactures products for skiers, snowboarders, divers, and wakeboarders. These goods are then distributed around the world by a global network, including O’Neill – Europe, which is based in England, according to O’Neill’s Web site.
O’Neill – Europe needed a better way to manage its distribution business, and after looking at several supply chain management applications, it decided to implement the M3 Fashion suite of products developed by Lawson Software. The first contract between the companies was signed this spring, with a supplemental contract signed in late fall.
Anton Langeler, global IT director for O’Neill Europe, explained the company’s ERP decision in a Lawson press release. “Lawson’s company culture felt familiar to O’Neill,” he says. “In addition, Lawson’s industry focus and expertise, reflected in their numerous references in the apparel business in general and sportswear industry in particular, that has been a key driver in our decision.”
The implementation of the Java-based M3 Fashion suite began at O’Neill – Europe’s Dutch subsidiary, where it will support 140 users, and is slated to continue to other subsidiaries in Belgium, Germany, and France. In addition to core supply chain management capabilities tailored to the apparel industry, the M3 implementation includes Lawson Smart Office, which enables users to access M3 features and data from the comfort of their Microsoft Office productivity applications. The company expects to reap several benefits from the ERP installation, including improved customer service, shortened time-to-market, and greater transparency and accuracy of key data.
The deal with O’Neil shows Lawson’s strength in a booming market niche–the surf apparel industry, which is being driven by the rapidly expanding popularity of surf culture and board shorts consumption among non-surfing peoples in landlocked towns and coastal communities alike.
“This new relationship with O’Neill is more evidence that we are becoming the obvious choice for the apparel industry,” says Bob McKee, industry strategy director for fashion at Lawson. “We are building a track record in sportswear and now have three of the top surf brands as customers.”
The other two top “surf brands” using M3, according to a search of Lawson’s Web site, are QuikSilver, the $2 billion publicly traded manufacturer of wetsuits, clothing, and other “lifestyle” products, and Rip Curl, the privately held Australian manufacturer of wetsuits, surfboards, and clothing.