How one of the oldest brands in the world reinvented its workplace

A modernized workplace drives agility and fosters better collaboration among its global workforce


After 160 years in business, clothing manufacturer Fruit of the Loom is ready for digital disruption. The company has prepared for the new economy by modernizing its workplace to become highly mobile, collaborative, and secure.

“We’ve never seen business at today’s pace,” says Tony Pelaski, chief operating officer at Fruit of the Loom. “E-commerce is changing the retail climate; consumers want more variety, more often. The challenge for us is how we drive more agility into our supply chain to accommodate this new paradigm.”

Fruit of the Loom met that challenge by adopting a modern desktop as the driving force behind its transformation.

“We reinvented a highly secure, collaborative, and intelligent workplace for employees using Microsoft 365 Enterprise,” concludes Jeff Lynn, Vice President of Business Analytics at Fruit of the Loom. Microsoft 365 Enterprise which brings together Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security with Windows 10 Enterprise to support a dynamic culture of work.  (For organizations that want to get started on a similar journey, Microsoft offers a free webinar, The Modern Desktop: Deployment and Management Reimagined.)

Connected workplace

The technology transition has been a key contributor to a culture shift for Fruit of the Loom and its 30,000 employees around the world. “My vision for Fruit of the Loom is to foster an engaged workforce with the skills and capabilities to deliver on our strategies around product innovation, customer insights, and speed to market,” says Terri Wiethorn, chief human resources officer at Fruit of the Loom.

“It is important to Fruit of the Loom to provide everyone with the tools to collaborate and communicate, from our first-line workers to our executives,” says Wiethorn. Marketing managers review new products with sales teams by sharing their desktops during Skype for Business Online video calls. One senior manager says she was able to finalize a two-year project with teams in four countries in a single, two-hour video call. ”Using Office 365 to provide everyone with the tools to collaborate and contribute is a vital part of our success,” says Pelaski.

The workers closest to the products and consumers, in distribution centres and in the field, contribute through a company portal called FruitNet. Through the portal, they stay informed on corporate news and collaborate on team sites to drive creativity.

All employees have moved their files to Microsoft OneDrive for online storage, making it easy to access them from anywhere and on any device. For example, engineers in manufacturing facilities can access production process videos on their smart phones. Late in the afternoon, IT staff in the United States use SharePoint Online collaboration sites to share the latest product updates with colleagues early in the morning in India, so development work continues unabated around the world.

Faster time to market

Better communications has meant that the company can move faster to fill retail shelves with what customers want, says Pelaski. “Using Microsoft 365 Enterprise, we’re able to assess situations faster, share information, and make rapid decisions to stay ahead of a dynamic retail environment.” For example, Fruit of the Loom uses the Microsoft tools to communicate in real time with its suppliers around the world to make instant changes to meet new demands.

Fruit of the Loom is also taking advantage of the analytics capabilities that interoperate with Microsoft 365 Enterprise. The analytics have allowed the company to move beyond “after the fact” business intelligence to predictive business analysis. It has given staff the ability to consider factors like weather patterns to ensure it has the right fleece garments in stores at the right time.

“In today’s world, we have to empower every employee, every associate to make a difference, and when you do that and touch their heart, they’ll respond,” says Pelaski.

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