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Empowerment & Employability: A Student’s Perspective on PLM


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WhichPLM has already reported on the time our CEO, Mark Harrop, spent educating students at two of the UKs top universities. Here, we let the students have their say; Ashleigh King from Huddersfield reports. 

Over the past several months, WhichPLM has dedicated considerable time to educating students, like myself, on the Fashion and Textiles Buying Management course at the University of Huddersfield.

Students enrolled on the course began their studies with WhichPLM some months ago now. As one of them, I was lucky enough to partake in the guest course from beginning to end. To start, a lecture was held for the second year students; I went along, knowing very little on PDM or PLM, eager to learn from Mark Harrop, WhichPLM CEO, and Morag Ashworth, WhichPLM Academy lecturer. Suffice to say I learnt a great deal.

We were given a task in which we were asked to research the various vendors of PLM, taking into account the benefits of each in relation to the RFA sector of the market. Mark and Morag were then able to share their expertise on each vendor and the specialties of each solution; they also explained how each supplier creates a unique selling point to their targeted businesses. This gave us a great overview of a wide range of PLM vendors and the competitive landscape of the market; very similar to that of retail fashion chains and how they target their ideal consumer.

Along with some final year students, my fellow second year classmates and I were given the chance to further develop our knowledge of PLM by using the software ourselves, as part of the department’s PLM week some time later. This week involved using the knowledge WhichPLM had provided, PTC’s FlexPLM solution, and the George clothing brand. Using the knowledge acquired from Mark and the WhichPLM Academy Bronze module (which we had all undertaken some weeks prior), we used FlexPLM to create a range proposal for George, and present this to the brand’s Senior Buying team.

During this week, presentations were also given from elite PLM professionals like Mark Harrop, who gave us extra guidance to complete our tasks. WhichPLM highlighted the importance of new project issues and challenges along with essential tips for planning a successful implementation of PLM, all the while answering the challenging questions and queries we had regarding the brief for the task.

I now know that I can take the knowledge I have gathered and develop this in order to advance my career – knowledge which I would never have gained without the help from both WhichPLM and PTC.

Overall, the depth of information from WhichPLM Academy has offered me (amongst the other students from the University of Huddersfield) a competitive edge when applying for placements and graduate jobs. I am now aware of the up-to-date benefits of PLM within the RFA sector, and the challenges and problems within the industry that PLM can address and overcome. The knowledge gained will help us all face and target everyday problems that may arise within a product’s lifecycle, and help us to minimise the risks of these re-occurring with the sourcing of new products.

With companies continuing to implement modern technologies like PLM into their everyday working lives, the students at the University of Huddersfield will have a head start in PLM and how to successfully implement the right solution to suit the needs of each business.

I would love to say a huge thank you to Jo Conlon, Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, for organising and bringing PLM into the Fashion and Textiles Buying Management curriculum and also to the WhichPLM team for giving the students extensive knowledge of PLM and the chance to take part in the WhichPLM Academy Bronze modules, as well as for the guidance they have offered us (the 2nd year Fashion and Textiles Buying Management students) to help towards our recent PLM case study project for University.

The team at WhichPLM has passed on some of their extensive knowledge into the differences between a Product Data Management (PDM) system and that of a modern PLM system. Beyond this, Mark Harrop has left students with knowledge of some key features involved in the successful collaboration of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to modern-day PLM implementations within fashion retail businesses.

I, for one, feel empowered to enter the industry knowing what PLM really is, and what it means to today’s retailers and brands. I’m certain that this knowledge will aid my fellow Huddersfield peers and myself when it comes to future employment opportunities.

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.