Since we founded WhichPLM in 2008, our mission has been to educate our industry on RFA (Retail, Footwear, & Apparel) PLM. This includes latest industry news, interviews with influential players, informative & educational editorial, coverage on emerging technologies and trends, vendor updates (around software as well as business-wide), deep-dive evaluations, yearly PLM Buyer’s Guides, online training courses and thought leadership linked to PLM & best-of-breed solutions. It also includes tailored advice to many retailers, brands and manufacturers working in fashion.
2020 was a difficult year for all of us. And for many, issues in the creation, development, management and production of our product lines came to the forefront. Although investing in any kind of technology in 2021 may seem worrisome, we believe that it’s vital for survival, and that the benefits of implementing a PLM system far outweigh the challenges – especially as we start to operate within a new business model.
But if you’ve ever embarked on (or began to research) a PLM project you’ll know how difficult it can be to know where to begin.
And so we wanted to make that process as easy as possible for our readers, no matter if you are a small start-up, a medium business that’s managed fairly well without PLM, or you’re an international retailer or brand that is looking to upgrade an existing PLM solution.
So, for 2021, we’ve compiled ‘PLM’s Digital Journey to Success; Your Project Pack’ containing some essential, and frankly incredibly helpful, documents for any business beginning (or looking to begin) a PLM project this year.
This pack includes:
What is PLM?
Potential Benefits of PLM
WhichPLM’s Guidance for your Business Type(s)
What Should a PLM Project Team Look Like?
What to Expect from Your PLM Journey (some FAQs)
Top Ten Things to Consider Ahead of a PLM Implementation
PLM Architecture (a Breakdown)
Assessment for Best-Practice Solutions (Checklist)
PLM Process Mapping
Best Practices to get PLM-ready
Expert PLM Implementation Timeline
‘What is PLM?’ is a simple document designed to help answer that very question. We have also set out some ‘Potential Benefits of PLM’ breaking down the problems, their drivers and then PLM’s impact on them. ‘WhichPLM’s Guidance for your Business Type’ highlights some key points for your specific business type. (This guidance can help inform which areas of the ‘Assessment for Best-Practice Solutions (Checklist)’ that you may wish to play close attention to, and which may be of lesser importance to your business.)
‘What Should a PLM Project Team Look Like’ may help you to decide who in your business should be part of this team, and what their role(s) may be. Within ‘What to Expect from Your PLM Journey’ we have included the FAQs that we get asked most often. These questions should also be addressed before you begin your journey.
‘Top Ten Things to Consider Ahead of a PLM Implementation’ shares our experience with the pitfalls we’ve seen prior to starting a PLM implementation, and our advice for avoiding these. Then the ‘PLM Architecture’ document offers you a breakdown of the different options available, currently.
The ‘Assessment for Best-Practice Solutions (Checklist)’ spreadsheet is the most in-depth document in this pack, and is an advanced type of RFI/RFP. Included in this spreadsheet is an extensive list of modules and processes often found within a PLM solution, as well as important levels of maturity (for each of those processes) for retailers, brands, sourcing agents and manufacturers in general. The document is designed for you to use as a guide, or to use in full as an RFI/RFP and to select those processes that are most important to you and your business. These will differ for each business type, based upon your unique business models.
The ‘PLM Process Mapping’ breaks down exactly what the term ‘process mapping’ is, why you should be doing it, and the benefits it will bring to your implementation.
Included in this pack are some ‘Best Practices to get PLM-ready’, which is a general overview of what you should be doing prior to selecting your system. And the ‘Expert PLM Implementation Timeline’ Excel is another lengthy and detailed document, acting as a rough guide to how long a PLM implementation can take. Again, this process is dependent upon each business, but you can use this document to assist your business in developing a high-level budget and time-to-value plan, before setting out on your PLM journey.
So, if you’re looking to start your PLM journey, or are simply interested in learning more about what PLM could realistically do for your business, please use the button below to purchase ‘Your Project Pack’ today, and streamline your entire journey.
PLM’s Digital Journey to Success; Your Project Pack
Download our entire project pack and get access to all 11 materials – saving you around 25%!
Alternatively, you can purchase each element of this pack singularly, by pressing the corresponding ‘Buy now’ button(s) below.
1. What is PLM?
Whatever your role in a PLM project, inevitably you’ll either be asked or will yourself ask the big question:
what exactly is PLM? This is a short document designed for those starting at the very beginning of their PLM journey.
2. Potential Benefits of PLM
The benefits of PLM are plentiful and far-reaching, and oftentimes dependent on your business. However, for every business there are key benefits that can (and should) be realised following a successful PLM implementation. This document gives an overview of exactly those benefits – relating to the usual problems encountered in any fashion business – which are relevant whether you’re a fashion brand, retailer or manufacturer.
3. WhichPLM’s Guidance for your Business Type(s)
Although operating under the RFA (Retail, Footwear & Apparel) umbrella, not all fashion businesses that sell or make product operate in the same way. In fact, far from it. Licensed retailers operate differently to online retailers, who operate differently to luxury brands, who operate differently to wholesalers, who operate differently to various manufacturers. The purpose of this document is to discuss the segmentation within our industry. There are various business models operating in the world of fashion & sewn products that
will influence a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) implementation. This document makes a careful attempt to categorise the overall segmentations within our industry along with their PLM licensing requirements linked to use-case types and licensing implementation estimates. We would expect that this document will be a valuable guide in helping businesses to research those PLM vendors that best serve the needs of their particular business type, and at the same time assist both customers and PLM vendors in configuring, and pricing their solutions to enable affordable and successful PLM implementations.
4. What Should a PLM Project Team Look Like?
Once any business decides to go down the path of PLM, it’s critical for all concerned to carefully consider just what makes a good PLM project team. We all know that having a highly experienced process expert team is vital to success of your project. But this is easier said than done, especially in the context of a modern PLM solution that goes way beyond most companies’ subject matter expertise.
And so we wanted to share some advice. From our experience, your new team of open-minded change agents must have at least these ten qualities to deliver a successful RFA (Retail, Footwear & Apparel) PLM implementation.
5. What to Expect from Your PLM Journey (some FAQs)
This document contains our insight to some common questions, including: Why does my company need PLM?; What are the basic components of PLM?; What is a PLM strategy?; What is an API integration in PLM?; How is PLM software deployed?; Is there an alternative to PLM?; Do we have a clear and solid business case for PLM?; How long will it take to implement a PLM solution?
6. Top Ten Things to Consider Ahead of a PLM Implementation
Based upon two decades of scoping, designing, implementing and researching PLM solutions from around the world, here we share our top tips that might prompt you to think about certain things you may not otherwise have considered. We phrase them as common mistakes, since our experience leads us to see them this way – as a list of ten things that are routinely overlooked and that can potentially jeopardise an implementation.
7. PLM Architecture (a Breakdown)
PLM has been around for over two decades, during which we’ve seen many architectural changes. First was the Client-Server model, followed by the Cloud-SaaS platform model some ten years ago. This came about as cloud technology gained popularity, linked to the launch of Microsoft’s Azure, Rackspace, Oracle, AWS and other cloud platforms. More recently we’ve seen further expansions in the form of a shared, multi-tenant architecture that is now becoming widely used on a variety of software solutions. This document breaks these down.
8. Assessment for Best-Practice Solutions (Checklist)
The ‘Assessment for Best-Practice Solutions’ spreadsheet is the most in-depth document in this pack, and is an advanced type of RFI/RFP. Included in this spreadsheet is an extensive list of modules and processes often found within a PLM solution, as well as important levels of maturity (for each of those processes) for retailers, brands, sourcing agents and manufacturers in general. The document is designed for you to use as a guide, or to use in full as an RFI/RFP and to select those processes that are most important to you and your business. These will differ for each business type, based upon your unique business models.
9. PLM Process Mapping
In order to implement PLM successfully, it’s recommended that management & project teams undertake what we call ‘process mapping’. Taking a snapshot of the business allows teams to better understand where they are (often referred to as the As Is [current business] state) before going on to improve the business model (often referred to as the To-Be state). This To-Be state is linked to new processes, new technologies, and organisational changes. Put simply: unless you know where you’re coming from, it’s difficult to know where you are going. This document breaks down what process mapping is, what it looks like, tips for creating process maps, and who should be doing it.
10. Best Practices to get PLM-ready
There is one critical area so often overlooked on a PLM journey, and it comes between selecting your system and beginning implementation. You might think selection and implementation sit side-by-side on your PLM roadmap – and you wouldn’t be alone – but in fact what sits between is crucial to your system’s survival. After the preliminary research and investigation stage, and a (possibly lengthy) selection process, you are hopefully feeling confident in your chosen PLM partner. You’re no doubt excited and anxious to get started using your new system. But before implementation can even begin, it’s critical that you take some steps to get your business PLM-ready.
11. Expert PLM Implementation Timeline
This Excel document is another lengthy and detailed one, acting as a rough guide to how long a PLM implementation can take. Again, this process is dependent upon each business, but you can use this document to assist your business in developing a high-level budget and time-to-value plan, before setting out on your PLM journey.
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with WhichPLM if you have any questions or require further information about this Project.