Since 1982 the Christopher Lena Shirt Co. has prided itself on creating high-quality dress shirts for men. The company produces approximately 500,000 shirts annually in various brands, colors, and styles. Its popular Modena and Christopher Lena Classic Comfort shirt lines offer impeccable construction and attention to detail in a range of classic and modern styles.
Based in Carson, California, the company's 12 full-time, in-house employees collaborate with suppliers and overseas manufacturers to bring apparel to market. The shirts are designed by Christopher Lena's on-staff apparel designers at company headquarters, where all operational and supply chain processes are managed as well. These processes include sales, marketing, order processing, customer service, accounts receivables, and warehouse logistics and fulfillment.
By delivering high-quality, ultra-stylish shirts at reasonable costs, Christopher Lena has built a reputation that drives loyalty among fashion- and price-conscious consumers. The shirts are sold by Men's Warehouse and numerous independent specialty men's stores throughout the United States. They are available online as well.
Dressing the IT Landscape for Success
While Christopher Lena's shirt designs are "fashion forward," the legacy software the company had deployed was holding it back from expanding its customer base. "We were using an industry solution that was adequate but it couldn't scale going forward," says Leonard Kang, operations manager at Christopher Lena.
The software supported order entry and production processes, but accounting and order tracking had to be handled in separate software solutions such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. For a company in the apparel industry that must always think ahead -- to the next season, the newest trend, and the latest styles -- this inefficient way of working was a liability.
"We had no visibility into our sales history because the software didn't retain our original sales orders," Kang says. "We could generate a PDF printout, but we couldn't export the data into Excel to analyze it. This was a huge functionality problem."
Support was also an issue. "It was really hard to run different reports and analyze individual dimensions of data. When we contacted the software vendor about our need, they were unresponsive," Kang explains.
In addition to these concerns, the company was not confident that the software would support e-commerce, which was important for further expansion. "We could see the writing on the wall. It was time to move on," adds Kang.
"The next logical step for us was to adopt an integrated software solution that was suited for a business of our size and for our industry."
Finding a Perfect Fit with Minimal Alterations