FLOW Digital Transformation Event

The first step-by-step, in-depth, conference and hands-on workshops focused on helping footwear companies actually execute successful DIGITAL (3D) TRANSFORMATIONS. For beginners to advanced professionals—we will cover everything you need to know and prepare you for what’s coming next. Do not miss this MUST ATTEND EVENT!

The Challenge

‘Digitization’ is what every brand is reaching for, yet the lack of education and real step-by-step examples is hindering our industry’s true digital—transformation—one that saves time and money while optimizing creativity and profit while minimizing environmental impact.

Over the past two years, FDRA and The Footwearists have successfully collaborated on organizing international conferences for footwear design, development, and innovation. Yet these events and our conversations with nearly every major brand made it crystal clear that one subject urgently needs more in-depth education: the digital transformation of the entire footwear supply chain.

Whether companies are just at the very beginning of this process or already have quite some experience, EVERYONE struggles with how to structure their digital workflow most effectively.

Companies who are just starting out struggle with what part of their product cycle they want to transform—Design? Development? 3D Prototyping?—and what software will fit their needs in addition to restructuring workflows around this. With limited budgets and time, it’s important to get this right!

Companies who have already started their transformation also struggle with reorganization of workflow, and find they are often lacking people with the right digital skills to make it happen.

We realized that events where software suppliers simply show their latest developments, often leave the audience overwhelmed and confused as to how they are supposed to actually apply what they learn to their specific situation. Further, these events are often costly and not fully focused on footwear.

The Solution

A Step-by-Step Conference and Hands-On Workshops to Guide Beginners and Help Brands Already Digitizing Find New and Better Methods.

FDRA and The Footwearists are setting up a real solution to our industry’s education challenge around these issues.  We are presenting FLOW Digital Transformation Week – which is an acronym for Footwear industry Learning Optimal Workflow—a week dedicated to digital transformation in footwear to help everyone from beginners to advanced experts. This includes a conference, roundtable, demos and hands-on workshops in Portland (Oregon) May 4–8, 2020.

Who is this for?

For brands not yet started or just beginning their digitization journey—you will obtain critical information on the basics of digitization from what software exists to accomplish what you want to accomplish to how to set up successful digital workflows to what talent you need to be successful.

For the digital trailblazers already deep in ‘digital’—you will hear new ideas and advanced concepts around big data to how digital can solve the circularity issues, as well as a roundtable to hear new ideas, best practices and help set standards to discussions around what software providers need to do to better help the industry. 

Footwear Professionals Encouraged to Attend—Upper management to operational level and from product development and innovation to manufacturing, sales, distribution, retail and human resources, including suppliers of digital technologies for all these segments. More specifically, here are examples of job titles that should definitely attend:

  • Design Directors
  • Directors and VP of Product Development
  • Heads of Human Resources and Development
  • Sourcing Executives
  • Manufacturing Directors
  • IT / Software Integration Leads
  • Innovation Teams

What Can I Expect to Learn?

Each event at FLOW is meant for a different target group, so everyone can get the information they need. We encourage everyone to sign up for the conference and then choose any workshops around it that are needed for deeper dives into issues important to your brands transformation.

FLOW Digital Conference—for footwear professionals conducting or overseeing digital transformations
May 6–7, 2020
Columbia Sportswear HQ, Portland OR

The FLOW conference takes place the whole day on Wednesday May 6 and the morning of May 7. It will center around presenting clear digital transformation roadmaps that can be applied directly, starting from a beginner level and then gradually working our way up to highly advanced, holistic digital solutions for the entire supply chain.

Several software and hardware solutions for the footwear industry are connected in logical, practical scenarios that offer both low-end and high-end solutions. They do not just address which kinds of software to choose and why, but also focus on the organizational aspects, such as: how to change the current workflow in order to accommodate for this innovation, what kind of people and skills will be needed, how to decide whether to outsource this new digital work or do it in-house, how to best train people for these skills etc.

Each scenario centers around one question, but of course these questions—and answers—are becoming increasingly complex as we progress through the days.

  • Day 1: Introduction and Intermediate Step-by-Step examples—how to think about ‘digitization’, how to set up a program and optimize the workflow to make it successful
    • Scenario 1: Digital Materials, Design & Prototyping
      • What software is best for my digital design needs – how do I set up a digital creation team or get buy-in? How can we digitize our material supply chain? How can we optimize our current prototyping process through digital design and 3D printing?   How can we create a digital design archive  so we can make optimal use of the tooling we already have?
    • Scenario 2: Visualizing & Virtualizing for Consumer Input and Sales
      • What software and hardware can we use to visualize digital designs in virtual prototypes to help development teams, get faster more cost effective line reviews internally among sales teams, and in sales pitches to retailers? How can we use virtual prototypes that are consumer facing – that can be sold online before they have actually been manufactured? 
    • Scenario 3: Digital Tools in the Factory 
      • What technologies (3D scanners, molding tools, robotics) can we help implement in the factory to help speed up manufacturing, reduce quality issues and costs. 
    • Scenario 4: Customizing for current and digital manufacturing
      • How can we best create a digital workflow that allows for customization by the consumer—for size and/or aesthetics—within our current means of production? How can we best create a digital workflow that allows for customization by the consumer—for size and/or aesthetics—using (local) automated digital manufacturing?
  • End of Day 1: networking reception to allow professionals to meet and find new connections to help them with their transformation.
  • Day 2: Advanced Ideas and Concepts
    • Scenario 5: Automizing and generating design and manufacturing through big data
      • How can we create a holistic workflow for both digital design and manufacturing that is fully automated based upon big data?
    • Scenario 6: Generating circularity
      • How can we create a holistic digital system that fully optimizes what we make as a company, including both the beginning and end of life of our products?

FLOW Digital Transformation Roundtable—for experienced digital users and technology suppliers
Afternoon of May 7, 2020

Right after the FLOW conference, there will be a roundtable that brings together experienced users and developers of digital applications for footwear with the aim of improving current systems and how to connect them as well as identifying gaps in the market that still need to be filled. This roundtable is exclusive for FDRA members and invited guests. Please contact us if you feel you should be present!

FLOW Digital Demos—for digital beginners and intermediate level professionals
Afternoon of May 7, 2020

Right after the FLOW conference, attendees will be able to get in-depth demos at the exhibit booths on how their software works, examples of uses and full answers for questions. There will be ample time to get your questions answered from software providers you may have been looking at but have not yet had the chance to engage.

FLOW courses & workshops—for those who want hands on digital design and development training on specific topics
May 4, 5, & 8, 2020, various locations in Portland, OR

Throughout the entire week, from May 4–8, The Footwearists will organize short courses, workshops and demos for those who actually need to implement and carry out digital transformation and want to expand their digital (design) skills. There will be training in different subjects for all levels, from beginners to intermediate and advanced.

The full program, along with pricing, will be announced soon on The Footwearists website. If there are things you would like to learn, or would like to teach, contact us.

Thanks to our Sponsors!