FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2022
Retail consulting firm Columbus Consulting has announced the immediate launch of a new business service focused exclusively on providing sustainable solutions that optimize and transform the product creation process. The company has enlisted the leadership of industry veterans, Jeanne Clarke and Kelley Robinson-Ingersoll to spearhead the Global Product Development and Sourcing (GPDS) area that will be helping retailers with: customized process solutions in product facing functions to increase speed and efficiency, deliver cost reduction, enable streamlined workflows and drive digital transformation strategies.
Both executives held senior level positions with major retail brands; each having over 30 years of experience in the industry. Jeanne, a creative director and product development leader was SVP of Design at PVH and previously in design at Ralph Lauren. Kelley, a global product development, strategy & operations leader, was with Victoria’s Secret, Gap Inc, and PVH.
According to Columbus Consulting’s CEO, Jon Beck, “we are excited to have Jeanne and Kelley as executive consultants working in this practice and grateful that we continue to attract top talent in the industry to better serve our clients.” He further commented that, “the global apparel retail market is currently worth $1.7 trillion in retail sales per year and relies on product development to drive growth. Our clients are looking for proven ways to optimize their processes and improve margins by reducing costs; focusing on this area of the business is critical especially as external influences are driving prices up and profits down.”
Jeanne and Kelley say, “the time is now for retailers and brands to look internally for ways to become more efficient. The pandemic revealed significant opportunities in the development chain. With billions being invested in product-facing functions and digital technology annually, the industry has the opportunity to realize the benefits of addressing improvements in this area.”
During their successful careers, both executive consultants have lead teams that produced significant reductions in design budgets, sampling costs, and development lead times to support closer to market decision making, thus enabling higher full-priced sell-through. Jeanne and Kelley work in parallel to promote strategic supplier partnerships and a diversified supply chain footprint, and “are confident that we can bring this expertise to other brands to achieve similar successes.”
The team has identified an opportunity to improve client performance as many organizations focus more narrowly and intensely on the middle to end of the product process, such as: planning, warehousing, inventory and consumer/store operations. And, while these are critical areas of the retail business, there are additional layers of efficiencies lying in the design, development and sourcing side of the product creation life-cycle.
The current global economy is also forcing businesses to explore every avenue to improve performance and optimize profit. Energy costs, labor costs, and geo-political uncertainties are driving costs higher across the process and retailers/brands cannot just increase retail prices to counter their impact. The average fashion product often goes through 2-3 rounds of sampling and takes 9-18 months from concept to consumer. This entails overseas travel, material consumption and labor hours. Reducing cycle time, leveraging digital applications to eliminate physical touches and embracing new ways of working to not only reduce costs, but increase speed to market and the ability to be more risk averse and agile overall.
WHAT IS THE NEW FOCUS AND KEY AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
1. Optimize Global Product Creation Process
2. Organizational Effectiveness of Product facing functions
3. Go-to-Market Calendar
4. Road maps & Timelines
5. Improved Communication & Implementation
6. Supplier Consolidation and Integration
7. Speed initiatives
8. Digital Design and Fit
Though both Jeanne and Kelley have been operating as independent consultants within their own areas of expertise, the two found their complementary experience an opportunity to build a focused practice that is a logical extension of Columbus Consulting to round out the value-benefit equation to clients. Columbus Consulting has been a leading retail consultant firm for over 20 years and has worked with over 300+ leading global brands. The company continues to be at the forefront of their industry by responding to retailer needs and opportunities. According to Beck, “enhancing pockets of our End-to-End retail solution approach is part of our strategic plan to drive transformation for retailers. Launching a Global Product Development and Sourcing service is the second key focus group we launched this year. Earlier in Q3 we announced a POS/Store Systems business practice and it has been met with huge demand. We are excited and energized to have Kelley and Jeanne bring focus to our product creation skill set and to have an opportunity to serve or clients more fully.”
Interested in learning more about how Jeanne and Kelley can help your brand/retail organization? Contact Columbus directly to schedule an exploratory review and process audit.
About Columbus Consulting
Columbus Consulting delivers solutions that drive true value and have been transforming the retail and CPG industries for over two decades. We are a boutique retail consulting company of industry experts. Our approach is simple, if you do it, we do it. We are more than consultants; we are experienced practitioners who actually sat in our clients’ seats. We understand the challenges, know what questions to ask and deliver the right solutions. Columbus offers a unique, consumer-centric approach with an end-to-end perspective that bridges functional & organization silos from strategy to execution. Our specialties include: unified commerce, planning & merchandising, sourcing & supply chain, inventory management, finance & operations, data & analytics, information technology and people & organization. Let us know how we can help you. To learn more, visit COLUMBUSCONSULTING.COM.