Wolverine CIO kicks off massive digital overhaul

The 140-year-old shoe maker is racing through a digital transformation to accelerate operations and deliver online customers the best fit.

Wolverine CIO kicks off massive digital overhaul

Shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide is modernizing its operating model with cloud software and new applications as part of a digital transformation that has shrunk the go-to-market window for some of the company’s shoe styles by as much as 65 percent.

As CIO Dee Slater sees it, increasing Wolverine’s ability to make quick changes is the only way the 140-year-old retailer can compete in the digital era by accommodating consumers’ preferences for purchasing goods online. “The consumer has the voice,” Slater says. “It’s about understanding what consumers want and value in the product.”

Guided by a “new normal” strategy to cultivate intimacy with consumers, Slater has revamped everything from product lifecycle management and product data management, to supply chain and logistics that support Wolverine’s 12 shoe brands, including Keds, Saucony, Sperry and Merrell. These efforts buttress a strategy to achieve 12 percent adjusted operating margin by the end of 2018.

Cloud file-sharing boosts design delivery

For Wolverine, which sells most of its shoes through wholesalers such as Nordstrom, REI and, yes, even Amazon.com, the traditional two-season sales cycle is no longer the best fit.

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