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Welcome to the new WhichPLM

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Welcome to the new WhichPLM.  Long-time readers will know that we underwent a cosmetic facelift at the beginning of last year – three years after our 2008 launch – but today I have the pleasure of announcing something far more significant. Today marks the launch of not just a new a website, but a new WhichPLM – redesigned, rebuilt, reengineered, rebranded, refreshed, revitalised, and ready for the future.

For regular readers, the most immediately apparent aspect of today’s announcement will be our entirely new branding – an initiative that extends across every aspect of WhichPLM from this website right through to our print publications.  This summer we were afforded the opportunity to revisit what it was that we felt made us unique, and we used the results of this introspection to shape what we knew readers wanted to see from a truly new WhichPLM.  For nearly five years our audience has placed their trust in us to be three key things:

  1. Impartial
  2. Dedicated to the retail, apparel, and consumer goods industries
  3. Committed to the spirit of enquiry, providing the insight and the tools that allow them to make sense of the technological landscape for fashion

Our new brand is designed to reflect each of these values, and demonstrate our steadfast perseverance where those founding principles are concerned.  And so from a new logo emblematic of both materials and our long-standing history of asking the hard questions, to an entirely new editorial board selected to ensure that we are able to deliver our trademark insight and impartiality at every stage of the product lifecycle, the new WhichPLM is the same WhichPLM you know and trust, built on the ethics you care about, but ready to take those core values to the next level.

[quote]From tailoring to labour, from planning to implementation, from design to delivery, from sketches to reality, from thread to garments, and from the cutting room to the boardroom, our Editorial Board has the experience and the expertise…[/quote]

As well as the new look, readers will notice that we have significantly redesigned the way that content is presented here on WhichPLM.  It’s now easier than ever before to find what you’re looking for – whether it’s through our flexible home page, always packed with the latest content, or our brand-new supplier listings, which now allow readers to index vendors of every stripe (from core PLM to the myriad solutions that fit under the umbrella of extended or E-PLM) based on the specific stages of the product lifecycle that they cater to, adding multi-level filters as they go to narrow down their shortlists and explore the microsites of only those vendors who meet their needs.

And this ease of use extends beyond simply finding the category or content or author you’re interested in; we have developed entirely new, modular layouts for our finest featured content, all designed with an eye for readability and each as eye-catching as the last.  The breadth and depth of featured content we offer has never been richer, so why not explore some of the featured content, editorial, or event reviews listed on our home page to see how we built a browsing experience around you – the reader.

During our introspection, we took note of the long-recognised fact that our audience is most captivated by education and informative content.  This is not to say that news has no place (indeed it occupies pride of place on our newly-designed home page) but rather that readers value insight and engaging thought leadership pieces from suppliers more than they do press releases.  As a consequence, we implemented a bespoke algorithm that weights the content that suppliers provide to us, and presents those vendors who have invested the time to create engaging and insightful content in the pole positions on our brand-new “Recently Active Suppliers” bar, appearing now on our home page.

We have also worked to enhance the sense of community that we have seen building up since the launch of the original WhichPLM.  Readers can now quickly and easily find and track their favourite contributors or guest bloggers, and engage them in discussions by commenting directly on the articles that capture their interest.  To make things even easier, readers can sign into our comments system using their favourite social network credentials, eliminating the need to remember yet another set of passwords just to have their say.

Our roster of contributors, editors, bloggers and suppliers has also never been richer or more diverse.  As well as welcoming brand-new vendors to the site on launch day, I also have the distinct pleasure of now working with ten of the industry’s most prominent figures to bring you the best and most comprehensive insight, reporting and opinion you’ll find anywhere.  From tailoring to labour, from planning to implementation, from design to delivery, from sketches to reality, from thread to garments, and from the cutting room to the boardroom, our Editorial Board has the experience and the expertise to provide our audience with detailed, informed, and impartial information that speak to them – whatever their role in the product development process.  And this panel is by no means static, with contributors who have dedicated their lives to cutting, logistics, the global supply chain and more all preparing to join our ranks over the coming months.

[pullquote_right]It’s now easier than ever before to find what you’re looking for – whether it’s through our flexible home page, always packed with the latest content, or our brand-new supplier listings[/pullquote_right]As well as being motivated by the future of the apparel industry, as a predominantly online publication we are also invested heavily in the future of the internet: the new WhichPLM has been rebuilt from the ground up using our own bespoke software coupled with the world’s best-supported and most robust content management system.

As part of this commitment to creating the best possible user experience and adhering to the latest web standards, we have eliminated our reliance on third-party plugins (including Flash) and repositioned ourselves as entirely HTML5 compliant.  Here at WhichPLM we believe strongly that, although print still has a place, the web represents the future of content, and in order to ensure that each of our readers enjoys the best possible experience we have focused our efforts on supporting only those web browsers that are future-proof to at least some degree.

In the event that your WhichPLM experience does not match the images accompanying this article, I recommend that you update to a modern browser – namely Internet Explorer 9 and above, Firefox, Safari 6, or Google Chrome – or ask your IT department to do this for you.  Although widely distributed, versions of Internet Explorer from 8 downwards are four or more years out of date and simply not suited to the future of the web; readers using these browsers may find that key WhichPLM functionality either does not behave or look as expected, or is simply unavailable to them until they switch to a modern equivalent.

It’s the future that sculpts the shape of our industry every day, after all, and beyond the platform itself, WhichPLM is committed to delivering even more over the coming year.

The next few months will see new content, new opportunities, the launch of a revitalised PLM toolkit, our 2013 customer survey and Annual Review, new contributors, new suppliers (both core and E-PLM) new features, event reports, exclusive case studies and interviews, and much, much more – all underpinned by the work we have done to create a new environment expressly tailored to the needs of our audience and informed by our long-standing principles.

So welcome again to the new WhichPLM.  This is an exciting time for us and for the industry at large, and we remain as committed as ever to building the clear, attractive, fully-featured channel of communication that we know the future deserves.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to explore, why not let me or another member of the editorial team know what you think?

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.

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