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C-DESIGN PLM; an Open Dialogue


In today’s guest piece, the creative minds behind C-DESIGN PLM introduce WhichPLM readers to their business and platform. Established in 1998, C-DESIGN is a creative and innovative software house, specialising in developing, marketing and supporting creative solutions to the textile industry.

At C-DESIGN, our aim is to provide the textile industry with effective technologies, and innovative tools to meet ever-changing industry needs. Two decades of experience and expertise have allowed our team to develop, market and sell our product development, fashion-focused solutions to many of the world’s luxury fashion houses and professionals. Our mission from day one has always been to listen carefully to the needs of merchandisers, buyers, designers, product developers and manufacturers, and turn their dreams into reality. Using constant feedback, we’ve been able to design the next generation PLM platform. Starting from scratch, we carried out two years of market research and studies into today’s end-to-end supply-chains. Not only did we study the workflow process in great detail, but separately we examined the changing architectures that would enable us to build the next generation of PLM; over the next year we combined the requirements gathering and our process research and went on to develop the next generation C-DESIGN PLM.

We used feedback coming from the headquarters of many retailers and brands across the globe that clearly stated that they wanted a new PLM platform to become a part of their existing eco-system. With this in mind, we decided from the offset that instead of the traditional process of creating APIs (Application Programming Interface), we would instead take the unique route to design our entire PLM platform completely within the Adobe Suite platform. With Adobe being the industry-standard vector graphics software that, today, is used by millions of fashion designers this made perfect sense. Your favourite Illustrator integrates 100% of our PLM solution functionalities, meaning that within Illustrator, users have access to all functionalities of the PLM. It goes far beyond a traditional bridge using AI files moving backward and forward with a PLM solution. And we didn’t stop there: we also listened to our global customers and expanded the illustration software to support those companies that prefer to use the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. Designers and developers of both illustration suites can now utilise the full capabilities of C-DESIGN PLM without having to move from one solution to the other. We listened to the many concerns around moving graphics files between multiple design packages and, instead, created a frictionless process that combines the ‘right brain’ creatives with the ‘left brain’ developers, using a PLM toolset operating across a single platform.

From the ground up

With the continuous uptake we saw in the use of 3D for both pattern design and engineering – and the more recent use of CGI (Computer Generated Images), nowadays referred to as virtual twins – we decided to create an open toolkit that allows our customers to utilise the 3D simulation services on a single, user friendly platform. And, just like with the extra work that we did for the CorelDRAW users, we created a 3D open-systems connector, based upon our SDK (Software Development Kit) and the use of restful APIs, that combined provides our customers with the perfect tools to support multiple platforms. Today the C-DESIGN PLM platform enables users to quickly integrate to the leading 3D solutions.

We also decided to build our next-generation PLM solution on a multitenant platform. Listening to our clients and prospects it quickly became clear that they wanted a future PLM platform that was frictionless and could rollout new processes, features & functions every six-to-eight weeks, rather than older technologies that leave their clients waiting many months, often using out-dated versions of the software. Today, all of our customers use the same, latest version of software that is delivered as an automatic update and is included within their monthly subscriptions.

‘Good behaviour’

From a user’s perspective, we were concerned less about the look and feel of our PLM platform, and more about how our customers would utilise the modules, features and functions of the software, and how users would interact with PLM and other related platforms. Our focus has always been to generate a positive and constructive emotional reaction from our users; we wanted to make the solution easy and intuitive. Our goal is to help create the “wow” factor and delight our consumers: great on the eye and very friendly and easy to use.

Our user-interface design is a complement to the users’ experience that focuses heavily on the aesthetics of our solution: its look, feel and of course its final appearance. Our UI consists not only of the modern look and feel of the PLM appearance, and interactivity; we also spent a great deal of time listening and researching just how we wanted our solution to look, how users perform certain tasks, fonts, shapes, sizes, colors and so on. UI designers want to delight users by the look and feel of the platforms that they are using on a daily basis.

You talk; we listen

We don’t need to talk anymore of time consuming PLM implementations that, even for small-to-medium sized businesses, can take several months (4-6 on average) at best. We listened to the feedback of those customers that have used PLM in the past and complained to us of the excessive implementation and configuration cost.  C-DESIGN PLM can be up and running in a matter of days and weeks. The solution is fully configurable, truly non-destructive with low-code configuration(s) that can be completed whilst leaving the underlying PLM codebase unchanged.

To support our new and existing customers, we’ve taken some extra steps by adding libraries of digital assets within the PLM solution, meaning that not only does the solution come ready and easy to operate from the download, but it also dramatically reduces the learning curve for all the value-chain partners. Beyond the libraries and ease-of-use deployment, we have provided video self-training that is helping to drastically reduce the time of training and onboarding of all connected partners.

Our latest PLM platform offers customers true multi-access using multiple-device platforms: from a web browser, Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, Mac or PCs, Smartphones and Tablet. We have also integrated many of the successful capabilities of popular collaborative tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom within our platform.

We developed an integration engine using restful API that enables multiple system types (ERP, PIM, CRM, E-COM etc.) to connect.

We want to continue to make our PLM platform intelligent using A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and M.L. (Machine Learning) linked to smart tagging. We want to develop algorithms that will make it simpler to remove some of the basic human tasks of storing, finding, and sorting a range of data types and create a set of rules and commands provided to the PLM platform so that it can complete a specific task.

We operate an open dialogue on new ideas for our PLM with our customers. We allow our users to digitally submit new ideas or inquiries; we listen, we learn, we evaluate, and we integrate the best of these ideas into our development roadmap. We stay in line with the needs of the market and react as quickly as possible to the changes. We operate a development roadmap based upon (60:40), meaning that 60% of the ideas are coming from within the C-DESIGN team and 40% are coming from our customers. And we intend to stay this way.

Find out more about C-DESIGN PLM here. 

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.