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PLM Customer Survey Reports and  Buyer’s Guide

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY      

1. INTRODUCTION

  • 1.1 Industry History
  • 1.2 Our Survey – The Details
  • 1.3 Analysis – Who Took The Survey?

2. THE MARKET TODAY

3. THE SURVEY QUESTIONS

4. THE PLM BUYER’S GUIDE

  • 4.1 Selecting a Supplier
  • 4.2 Implementation
  • 4.3 Feedback
  • 4.4 Overall Satisfaction

5. THE SUPPLIERS

  • 5.1 Dassault Systemes
  • 5.2 DeSL
  • 5.3 Gerber
  • 5.4 Infor
  • 5.5 Eclipse (JustOnePlace solution)
  • 5.6 Lawson
  • 5.7 NGC
  • 5.8 PTC

6. THE MARKET TOMORROW

7. CLOSING SUMMARY

Appendix

Executive Summary

It is a rare opportunity to be able to present an industry first. The first customer survey of its kind to address the concerns and needs of the apparel industry. The first customer survey of its kind to ask consumers what they truly think of their Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions. In March, April and May of this year the industry spoke, and we listened.

In undertaking the first ever truly independent apparel PLM customer survey we at WhichPLM solicited some 500-plus customers of PLM and Product Data Management (PDM) from around the world, comprising a cross-section of the industry and including multinational retailers, global brands, large-scale manufacturers and small businesses. We asked incisive and exhaustive questions not just because we were the people best poised to do so but because we see ourselves as working not just for our clients, but for the industry as a whole; we care about PLM not just as a service but as a way of doing business, and we want to see it grow. We took this reductionist approach because we wanted to learn exactly what customers thought of the available PLM solutions and, more importantly, we hoped to learn how those customers wanted to see the industry mature.

Are there discounts available for this report%3F We have taken the time to analyse and interpret the answers in a way that we hope does justice to how unique an information-gathering opportunity this, the first truly independent industry-wide customer survey, was. We present them here both as objective data and as interpreted by our team of experts with our observations accompanying key results.

Our overall aim is not to second-guess the results of customer surveys conducted by individual businesses but to look at broader trends and interesting anomalies in the light of what they can tell us about PLM’s maturation into a fully-fledged industry within the fashion sector. We aim to set out suggested avenues of development not just for particular supplier or company types (although we do look at the results from these angles), but for PLM as a whole, which the results suggest is catering incredibly well to its growing client base. It is a message you might reasonably expect a group of PLM evangelists such as ourselves to put forward, but it is heartening to know that the results bear out what we already knew. In short: PLM works!

From a supplier’s perspective it goes without saying that we cannot overstate the importance of customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer base can have a profound impact on every aspect of a business. On the whole we found that customers who entered into the process of selecting a PLM solution with a full understanding of their aims and an accurate blueprint of their existing processes were generally happy with the solution they picked, barring a few notable exceptions. Most customers considered the pre-sales stage to have catered well to their needs, but there were various concerns raised in individual cases of after-sales support differing from what they had been lead to expect. It is also worth noting that the vast majority of customers rated prior fashion industry experience as being crucial when it came to selecting a supplier, which given the range and diversity of respondents gives a strong impression of just how large this section of the market has become.

Acting on the information gleaned from an impartial survey is the perfect way to ensure that your business is growing in the ways that matter to your customers and that you are able to deliver the ultimate goals of exceptional customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Listening directly to your customers and making demonstrable improvements in the areas that count is the cornerstone of developing strong customer relationships, and is the one area of our survey in which suppliers came under relatively consistent criticism, but, encouragingly, also one of the main areas that customers would like to see their solution improve in the future.

From a customer’s perspective we found that a worrying proportion of those who responded fell short of what we and other third-party experts consider to be the minimum amount of research and process analysis required before selecting a PLM solution. With the burgeoning marketplace becoming as crowded as it is, the results speak for themselves in reinforcing the need for careful consideration, expert consultation and meticulous forward planning when it comes to shortlisting suppliers and eventually picking a solution. As we are sure you have already guessed we know how it ought to be done, and it is with these results in mind that we present the Fashion PLM Buyer’s Guide. Our hope is that better informed prospective customers and more receptive, adaptive suppliers will see the industry grow in ways that will benefit everybody.

It is important to note that while we at WhichPLM are unquestionably PLM evangelists, this survey was not designed as a competition. We did not set out with the aim of finding the ‘best’ solution, simply because we believe that the solutions available are as unique as the customers who are seeking them. Choosing a solution is not as simple as picking the most popular supplier, but rather picking the one that best fits your own business needs.

Let us know what you think. Plenty of people already have.

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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.