Today’s post was written by Chris Krebs, chief information officer at Fruit of the Loom.
Fruit of the Loom is one of the world’s oldest brands, providing colorful T-shirts, fleece, socks, underwear and apparel to consumers of all ages. We built our business on a disruptive piece of technology that ushered in the nineteenth century’s industrial era—the power loom. Today, I’m lucky enough to be helping the company evolve with technology that’s underpinning the digital age. Fruit of the Loom is taking advantage of Microsoft technologies, including Microsoft 365 E5 and the Azure cloud platform, to support a transformation in our business.
When I became CIO five years ago, we were hamstrung by an email client everyone disliked and a collaborative platform that none of our globally dispersed employees used. I had to find a modern and secure technology experience to empower our people. And it wasn’t a “boxers versus briefs” decision—my team and I wanted to provide tools that would help simplify our most complex challenges. We looked at other collaboration tools, but we chose Office 365 and now are enhancing our cloud-based productivity tools with a move to Microsoft 365 Enterprise. It answers the enterprise-level challenges that we face around security and compliance, while fostering increased mobility, creativity and collaboration using content and data that contain intellectual property.
With Office 365, we’re reinventing workplace productivity and empowering employees to be more agile and stay ahead of increasingly rapid changes in the fashion industry. Consumer tastes change almost overnight, and while we can efficiently manufacture large quantities of a single style, our complex supply chain poses a challenge in responding quickly to the latest color or T-shirt design. Yet today, product development teams use Skype for Business Online and Yammer to work in real time with their colleagues in manufacturing facilities around the world to accelerate innovation and make the best production decisions. Our manufacturing staff save videos of new production processes on OneDrive for Business, so the rest of the company can see what’s going on in the field, even on their smartphones. With Microsoft 365 Enterprise, we have the real-time collaboration technology for marketing, sales and business analytics teams to work with each other and with retailers to fast-track the design, manufacturing and distribution of new products to retail shelves ahead of competitors.
To facilitate anytime, anywhere access to valuable business data, we use the mobile device and application management, multifactor authentication and conditional access controls within the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. We are taking our business intelligence to the next level using Azure Machine Learning services that are part of Cortana Intelligence Suite, and Power BI as part of Office 365. Today, it’s easy for employees to take advantage of a wealth of customer data and turn it into predictive intelligence that helps us anticipate what customers want. Our data scientists and analysts develop business models aimed at maximizing sales per linear foot of shelf. Now we can analyze retailers’ data by region and customer demographics, so when a new color or style comes into fashion we respond quickly. This is a boon in the retail world.
Where Microsoft is going with cloud technologies continues to resonate with Fruit of the Loom, especially as we see the ongoing innovation with its security platform, business intelligence and collaboration tools and cloud computing services around data and analytics. With Microsoft, Fruit of the Loom stays true to its heritage of using the latest technology to keep our customers happy.
Read the full Microsoft 365 Enterprise case study.