Home News PDP Celebrates Mark Harrop’s 37th Year In Industry

PDP Celebrates Mark Harrop’s 37th Year In Industry


(MANCHESTER, UK, 11th AUGUST 2011) The Product Development Partnership (“PDP”) this week celebrated the start of Managing Director Mark Harrop’s 37th year in the retail, footwear and apparel industry.

Taking in roles all the way from Cutting Room Manager to one of the world’s leading independent PLM consultants, Mark has worked at every stage of the product development process in a career that began in earnest in 1974.

At that time Mark joined Lawtex PLC, one of the UK’s leading suppliers to Marks and Spencer where he quickly rose through the management ranks to become Factory Manager.  Following nine years dedicated to Lawtex, he moved to Xetal Systems where he served as Design Bureau Manager, responsible for introducing to the Apparel industry the first commercial CAD and material digital printing services (employing the Microdynamics CAD solutions) able to deliver accurately-dyed 1 metre sample lengths that could be converted to garment samples within 24 hours.

In 1987 Mark joined Microdynamics as Director of Sales and Marketing, where he helped to introduce the company’s CAD systems to the European market. Working closely with the research and development team he was a pioneering member of the team that created the first PDM system, “Spec”, specifically designed for the Apparel industry.

Following Gerber Technology’s acquisition of Microdynamics, Mark spent the next eight years sharing his industry expertise with that company’s GIS (Gerber Information Systems) division focusing on the design, sales and implementation of PDM to Retail, Brands, Textiles and Footwear sectors.

It is this holistic, customer-led approach that has informed Mark’s work in the apparel industry ever since.

“My absolute focus with each company has always been on assisting clients to achieve maximum return on their investments – be it in technology, software or personnel”, Mark says.

After his time at Gerber, Mark was appointed Managing Director at Freeborders Ltd, where he was responsible for building the company’s brand throughout Europe.  Alongside that work he also served as the primary liaison for a US-based team in the creation of the first CPM Collaborative Product Management solution – the forerunner to a full PLM suite – which launched in 2003.

In 2005, his experience and industry expertise saw him headhunted by PTC where he was appointed EU Regional Director and oversaw the launch of their European RFA business.  In that role Mark was responsible for recruiting many key members of PTC’s European operations, and we are pleased to announce that Mark’s strong relationship with PTC continues to this day.  He is heartened to see the way they (and the PLM industry in general) have expanded and improved upon their operations throughout Europe since.

In 2007 Mark founded the Product Development Partnership, which under his leadership has become the one of the world’s global leaders in value-added PLM consultation, implementation and support.

Speaking of his success and techniques in business, Mark says:

“Firstly I’m one of the lucky ones, in that I love my job and have a great passion for continuingly pushing the envelope in trying to improve apparel product development through the deployment of technologies”

“I believe in opening channels of communication and building strong relationships with technology suppliers, providing unbiased, expert advice that has enabled some of the world’s best known retailers, brands and manufacturers achieve efficiency savings across their entire supply chain through informed technology investments.”

To find out more, visit www.pdplimited.com

About PDP

The Product Development Partnership provides expert consultation services to companies in the retail, footwear and apparel industries who are looking to implement new software or enhance their existing product lifecycle management (“PLM”). With several decades’ combined experience, a unique skill set and global expertise running the gamut from design to delivery, its services are informed, proven and completely impartial.


Ben Hanson Ben Hanson is one of WhichPLM’s top contributors. Ben has worked for magazines, newspapers, local government agencies, multi-million pound conservation projects, museums and creative publications before his eventual migration to the Retail, Footwear and Apparel industry.Having previously served as WhichPLM’s Editor, Ben knows the WhichPLM style, and has been responsible for many of our on-the-ground reports and interviews over the last few years. With a background in literature, marketing and communications, Ben has more than a decade’s worth of experience, and is now viewed as one of the industry’s best-known writers.