Bringing people closer to sports.
Alpen Group improves design quality and efficiency with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Make license management easier and more efficient
Improve speed of in-house design work
Develop creative products that meet customer needs
Visibility with centralized license management
Design changes completed in <20% of the time previously required
Greater creativity through new features
Improved workflows with new apps and services
Bringing people closer to sports
Alpen Group is a known trailblazer in the Japanese retail sports industry. Its multifaceted businesses were developed around the concept of bringing people closer to sports. Alpen Group runs retail chain stores across Japan, including Alpen, the golf specialty store GOLF5, and the large sporting goods specialty store SPORTS DEPO.
In the 1970s the company became one of the first to adopt the specialty store retailer of private label apparel (SPA) strategy by overseeing research and development of original product lines in-house. Even professional athletes praise the brand’s high quality, with one athlete using skis developed by Alpen Group to win a gold medal at the Sochi Winter Games.
As of December 2017, Alpen Group has grown to a nationwide network of approximately 420 stores. In addition, the company also operates sports facilities across Japan, including golf courses, ski slopes, and fitness gyms. As a pioneer in the Japanese sports industry, managing everything from manufacture and sales of sports equipment to operations of sports facilities, Alpen Group aims to become and remain a reliable and accessible company to all people who enjoy sports.
“Switching to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams leads to greater design efficiency through the use of new features.”
Mr. Yuki Mori
Winter Group, Outdoor Merchandising Department, Alpen Group
Improving license management
Alpen Group has 11 original brands, including Hart, a brand with a long history of accolades, and TIGORA, a brand praised by pro athletes. From winter sports to marine sports, Alpen Group handles the planning and design of its original brands and products in-house. One of the company’s strengths is its ability to use its close ties with customers to develop products based on their true needs.
In the 1990s, Alpen Group’s design department switched from creating designs with specialty CAD software developed for apparel design to producing designs with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. About ten years ago, Alpen Group decided that each employee should have his or her own computer. Since then, each team in the design department has purchased their own hardware and software out of their own budgets, leading to inconsistent versions in each department. Mr. Hidetsugu Tao, Headquarters Support Group, Information Systems Department, explains the reason why.
“Each designer needed different hardware specifications depending on their work,” says Mr. Tao. “To maintain good operational efficiency, it seemed reasonable to have teams purchase hardware and software depending on their needs.”
As a result, software license management became extremely complicated. Alpen Group decided to migrate to Adobe Creative Cloud to improve this situation.
Left: Mr. Yuki Mori; Right: Mr. Hidetsugu Tao
License management from one screen
The most important benefit of migrating to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams was centralizing license management. Mr. Tao speaks highly of how he can use the Admin Console to manage licenses for each team and see who is using which licenses at a glance.
“Unlike before, when each team would purchase a few software licenses at a time, we can consolidate quantities and benefit from volume discounts,” says Mr. Tao. “Alpen Group has about 20 Adobe Creative Cloud users, and another 50 users of just Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. We plan to migrate everyone to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams in the future when we replace their hardware.”
“Unlike before, when each team would purchase a few software licenses at a time, we can consolidate quantities and benefit from volume discounts.”
Mr. Hidetsugu Tao
Headquarters Support Group, Information Systems Department, Alpen Group
Improving design efficiency
Alpen Group doesn’t just benefit from easier license management. With Adobe Creative Cloud, users always have access to the latest functions. Mr. Yuki Mori of the Winter Group, Outdoor Merchandising Department, which oversees planning and design of sports gear, shares how the team uses features in specific applications.
“Switching to Adobe Creative Cloud for teams leads to greater design efficiency through the use of new features,” says Mr. Mori. “For example, the Content-Aware Fill function in Adobe Photoshop helps us improve efficiency dramatically. In Adobe Illustrator, the Puppet Warp function allows us to make natural transformations to artwork using mouse operations. Previously, when making modifications to artwork, the only way we could do it was to adjust each path one by one. With Puppet Warp, we can make the adjustments instantly for more efficient operations.”
Mr. Mori also highly praises Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, which allows designers to manage design assets created in a variety of applications in one place.
“When using a single piece of artwork in multiple designs, previously if we made changes to the artwork after developing the other designs, we had no choice but to update each design individually,” says Mr. Mori. “When working with artwork linked through Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, we can reflect the changes in all of the designs just by changing the artwork. That makes things much easier. It now takes less than 20% of the time to make changes.”
“It now takes less than 20% of the time to make changes.”
Mr. Yuki Mori
Winter Group, Outdoor Merchandising Department, Alpen Group
More expressive designs
Adobe Creative Cloud not only improves work efficiency, it also helps designers create more expressive and creative designs.
“One example of how we are improving creativity is through Adobe Typekit, which provides a variety of fonts through the cloud,” says Mr. Mori. “The choice of font can dramatically change how people view a design. When I’m working on designs for women’s gear, I tended to make my designs too stiff and formal, so giving me a wider variety of fonts to choose from is a big help.”
Furthermore, all staff in the design department immediately started using Adobe Capture to smoothly create color themes and patterns based on photographs shot on a smartphone. Mr. Mori is currently looking into Adobe Dimension as a 3D tool that allows graphic designers to easily composite 2D and 3D assets to create photorealistic images.
“Our team also works on designs for golf balls and basketballs,” says Mr. Mori. “If we can make 3D designs, it’s easier for us to convey the idea to people without design knowledge, and it becomes easier for us to picture how it will look on a three-dimensional object. We’re considering moving to the All Apps plan so that we can use Adobe Dimension.”
Alpen Group is currently looking into how it can use more of the functions included in Adobe Creative Cloud.
“Alpen Group does simple video production in-house, but we typically did the editing on editing software installed on specific hardware,” says Mr. Tao. “We’re planning to deploy the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan to some designers so that we can start using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects, which have excellent video editing functions.”