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Century Martial Arts Fights Inefficiency in Product Development with Centric PLM™

Sporting goods company ups their digital transformation and innovation game

Century Martial Arts, the martial arts gear company, has selected Centric Software®’s Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution for emerging brands, Centric SMB. Centric Software provides the most innovative enterprise solutions to plan, design, develop, source and sell products such as apparel, footwear, sporting goods, furniture, home décor, cosmetics, food & beverage and luxury to achieve strategic and operational digital transformation goals.

Century Martial Arts was founded in 1976 by Mike Dillard, a two-time National Karate champion. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, USA, the company has since grown to be the worldwide leader in designing and manufacturing equipment for martial arts like uniforms, belts, pads, headgear and punching bags, with over 11,000 SKUs.

Century’s Vice President of Product Development, Kris Horner says the speed at which the market is moving provided the impetus to accelerate product development. “We found the systems we had in place that worked twenty years ago when our company was much smaller, don’t work today. It’s difficult to push information back and forth from one department to another; that’s where we were lacking.”

Horner talks about the industry. “Martial arts is a traditional business that tends to evolve rather slowly but Century has always been a very innovative company in this space. We developed the freestanding bag category—punching bags on bases that can be moved around and don’t have to be hung up.” He continues, “We’ve created a product that’s probably more famous than the Century name itself, called BOB®—a mannequin that you put on top of one of these freestanding bases and you punch it. It is important for Century to continue with its heritage to continue to develop new products.”

Century chose Centric due to their leadership position in the industry. “We really wanted to leverage Centric’s experience in their 400 implementations. We were looking for something that would improve our processes out-of-the-box, not just covert our existing processes to digital,” says Horner. “The software itself is very intuitive and the user interface is really clean and straight-forward. Those are the things that really appealed to us about it.”

The strong increase of their e-commerce channel also motivated Century to move more quickly toward digital transformation with PLM. “Giving our team the ability to communicate in a more efficient way— a place where all the data related to products resides in the same place—we believe will accelerate our product development process and keep us more competitive in the markets that we work in,” says Horner. Quality of the products is also important. “Not a lot of companies sell products that people are going to kick, punch and hit for years on end!”

With the project kick-off under their belt, Century is looking forward to the future. Chris Groves, President and CEO of Centric Software says, “We are delighted to be partnering with Century Martial Arts on their digital transformation journey. It is always a pleasure to work with world leaders in their field and we are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship in the years to come.”

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Century was founded in 1976 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma by one man working out of his garage. We’ve since grown into the worldwide leader in martial arts equipment. Along the way, Century has been responsible for some major innovations within the industry. We were one of the first martial arts companies to create a website, allowing our customers to easily place orders and access digital resources.

Century has also designed some of the best known and most iconic pieces of martial arts gear, like the Wavemaster®, the original freestanding training bag, and the BOB® body opponent bag. BOB® bags frequently pop up in TV shows and movies, including ‘The Office,’ ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Parks and Rec,’ and ‘Elementary,’ to name just a few!

One of the reasons why Century is so passionate about what we do is that many of our employees are themselves, martial artists. Our founder, Mike Dillard, won two Karate National Championships during his time as a competitor. No matter your martial art, whether you’re a black belt instructor, a first-time student, or a fitness enthusiast looking for equipment to put in your home gym, Century has what you need. We have over 11,000 unique SKUs – you can find products from kettlebells to kendo armour!

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