PLM for fashion is used by apparel manufacturers and retail giants to manage their growth across teams.
In this industry where we see teams of designers, production, marketing, sales, distributors, and more working together—PLM for fashion holds an important role to create a centralized workflow.
But the question here is how specifically? What are the features of a PLM tool and how does it facilitate growth for apparel businesses?
And that’s what this article is sharing. Without any further ado, let’s get started.
What is PLM in the fashion industry?
PLM stands for Product Lifecycle Management. In the fashion industry, PLM Software help businesses track the lifecycle of products, collaborate with teams across platforms, and ensure a seamless workflow from the design of a product to shipping it to the customer.
PLMs are essential software that helps enterprises track the progress and report workflow of products in one place. Some of the most popular PLM tools for fashion are CGS BlueCherry, Centric, Apparel Magic, and Flex.
Moreover, because most PLM tools integrate with various other online platforms and channels, they centralize everything from communication and data sharing.
Overall PLM software brings together all the stakeholders in one place and shares information that helps in improving the efficiency of a product’s lifecycle.
Features of PLM for Fashion Businesses
Centralized Data Management
PLM for fashion brings all the teams and workflow together. From a management point of view, this helps in understanding the system better and resolving any recurring issues faster.
It also helps in identifying the bottlenecks within the workflow. Bottlenecks are the points where the whole system comes to a halt because only a limited number of products can pass through at a time.
Having a bird’s eye view of the system lets you make better decisions faster, and allocate resources with certainty to improve the efficiency of your apparel business.
Material and Supplier Management
As said earlier, the fashion industry has many independent teams working together. Your network of suppliers is one of them.
PLM tools for fashion allow you to save, connect, compare, and track all your suppliers in one place. It improves transparency in the supply chain with input from all the important stakeholders required in this process.
Overall, managing your material and suppliers’ information facilitates you in making better decisions by managing the cost & quality of your product.
Digital Asset Management
Digital Asset Management tool is an important feature of PLM tools for fashion. It helps businesses manage their digital assets like images, videos, pdf, documents, etc.
This feature helps you keep resources centralized, updated, and shared with the necessary members only, which is an important part of any online business.
Especially for the marketing team, as it allows you to stay consistent with the brand, across channels and ensure your fashion products are presented the way they should be.
Among all the features of PLM for fashion, its multi-channel integration is the most important one.
PLM tools can integrate with supplier portals, shipping platforms, E-commerce platforms, CRM, and reporting tools.
Simply put, PLM connects with various dedicated systems and works seamlessly with them to show you the entire flow of products on your screen in one place.
9 Ways PLM Tools Facilitate Growth for Apparel Businesses
Improved communication and productivity
With a business spread across teams and locations—communication plays an integral role in the productivity of the team.
PLM for fashion allows stakeholders to connect with and share their input all in one place. And this begins from point A, getting input on the current market trends and design ideas for products.
Teams can collaborate to finalize designs, materials, sample products, production, marketing, shipping, and everything.
Streamlining all the communication with PLM for fashion allows faster decision-making.
Additionally, since we know PLM is also great for reporting—the communication can be more data-driven and focused, backed by earlier tests and experiences.
In a PLM for the fashion and apparel business, information is constantly updated from different teams. And when it is communicated in real-time, it helps in making informed decisions faster.
Additionally, because PLM for fashion is also a hub for your business’s contact and reporting—it helps in choosing reliable suppliers and manufacturers, based on previous records.
From budgeting, allocating resources, and cutting down losses—all can be done based on the data from different teams and results.
This plays a crucial role in making financial decisions, hence reducing costs across workflow.
Version Control and Revision Management
Version Control and Revision management in PLM for fashion is mostly important in two stages. First, during the sampling and creation of a product. And second, when restarting manufacturing of a particular product.
Having all the data centralized allows the team to communicate various aspects of sampling and manufacturing confidently.
From the quality of the product to the estimated time of production, insights can be easily drawn based on the available data.
Also, keeping track of all the versions using PLM for fashion allows you to track designs, documents, and specifications, allowing teams to roll back to previous versions if needed.
For a fashion and apparel business today, there are various channels and mediums through which customers can learn about their products and buy them.
As a brand, it is important to ensure that you are consistent across channels and keep your audience updated with the right information.
PLM for fashion allows you to maintain this consistency across channels, and review the response of change.
Be it a change in pricing, or a new creative for the marketing team. Necessary stakeholders can be updated right within the PLM tool.
This streamlined and direct communication ensures the message is delivered clearly, and your fashion business maintains consistency across channels.
Transparent product tracking
Management must be clearly communicated on the status of manufacturing and distribution of the product.
However because of various layers and levels within the organization—important information might get lost or delayed.
On the other hand, with PLM for fashion, managers can track individual products, their status, and the reason behind any malfunction or delay.
Learning about these issues early on helps in resolving the issues and maintaining the quality of each product through set standards. In addition, if a recurring issue or bottleneck is detected, the process can be optimized to deliver better results.
Such a higher level of transparency and access to product tracking ensures the fashion business is able to work effectively.
Additionally, it also helps in preparing the system for more output as per the plans of management in the future.
Faster Time to Market
With PLM for fashion, one can curate, track, distribute, and market apparel products all from a dashboard.
The ability to manage a business by bringing all the stakeholders makes it quicker for the business to make decisions and implement changes.
With the transparency in the workflow and input of teams in one place, a product’s time to market can be drastically reduced. This helps a brand catch the current trends and meet the market requirements consistently.
It also helps you track the stage due to which it is taking longer to distribute your product. For example, if your studio retouching team is unable to process bulk fashion retouching, you can instantly connect with professional fashion photo editing services to speed up the workflow.
Having a system like PLM for fashion ensures that an apparel business is able to execute and track the progress of each product to fulfill market demand. In our fast-moving world, that’s exactly what makes or breaks a fashion business.
For the apparel business, regulations set by management and the government must be met at all costs. From Environmental Regulations to Flammability Standards, breaching a regulation can greatly affect a brand’s reputation and business.
At the same time, not everyone can keep up with new rules and regulations. They need to be updated—and that too as soon as possible.
PLM for fashion businesses ensures that important updates can be easily shared throughout the team in one go.
This is helpful when one has to stop the use of a particular dye in manufacturing or stop the distribution of a product to a certain region.
Having a PLM tool in place allows you to update a workflow much more quickly and ensure the brand is complying with the regulations across regions.
When we talk about PLM for Fashion we have to know it is for tracking a product life cycle. That means, every product is tracked from its inception to finally delivering it to the product.
The tools keep track of the material that is used, the designers who worked on it, and the stages a product has gone through.
In summary, a brand can track exactly how the product went through different stages and ended up in the last stage. This ensures that each product matches the set quality standard, making each product identical.
For brands, that results in higher customer satisfaction, and more returning customers. And even if you are reintroducing a product, PLM for fashion will allow you to track everything you need and match the quality of your product.
Data-Driven Decision Making
From sales trends to customer feedback, PLM tools for fashion are a wealth of data for your business. You track everything, and based on this data, a business can make much more informed decisions.
Of course, the benefits of PLM depend on choosing the right tools and integrating them into your workflow. However, once the system is set up, PLM allows you to access any part of your workflow and make informed decisions.
This helps from choosing the right manufacturer and material to identifying the most profitable sales channel and logistic partner. With PLM, you are able to make much more data-driven decisions for your fashion and apparel business.
Product Lifecycle Management is not simply a stand-alone software for one particular purpose. It’s a tool that aims to integrate all parts and channels of your business seamlessly in one place.
PLM for fashion businesses will allow you to manage your team, business partners, manufacturing, and distribution.
So, make sure you are investing in a tool that features all these abilities and assists you in making better decisions.
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