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What is WhichPLM?


WhichPLM puts the spotlight on (PLM) Product Lifecycle Management…Spotlight on PLM

PLM: just a piece of software?

PLM is a methodology and highly critical business strategy that enables significant competitive advantage in this ever challenging industry. PLM is one of the fastest growing areas of technology investment for retailers and brands, why? Because PLM adds value, improves profitability and, best of all, enables companies to stay ahead of the competition. 

So, what is PLM?

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is a description of the entire process from the early visibility of the need to create a product to meet the future business goals, through to the creation of a product or collection of products and the eventual end of the product’s shelf life. The concept of PLM manages the entire lifecycle from ‘birth to grave’.

In its simplest form, PLM manages all central product data, enabling users to reuse that data to improve the speed of accurate and real time information and have complete visibility of progress and any issues.PLM in the world of apparel emerged from such tools as CAD (Computer Aided Design) ,GMS (Grading and Marker Making Systems) and PDM (Product Data Management) in the late 1980's. Today, it can be seen as the integration of all of these tools, enabled through advances in technology that result in improved business processes through all stages of a product's lifecycle.

Process, process, process.

Many describe PLM as a set of linear processes that have been designed to compress the entire supply chain. At WhichPLM, we see PLM as a web capturing each detail within the supply chain and feeding every change back to the core.

Where does PLM fit into product development?

Typical areas covered by many of the solutions on the market today include:

PLM Processes

  • – Business Planning
  • – Line Planning
  • – Attribute Planning
  • – Store Planning
  • – Creative Design
  • – Storyboarding
  • – Sketching
  • – Concept Design
  • – Fabric and Component Design
  • – Pattern Development
  • – First Prototype Specification
  • – Detailed Design
  • – Risk Analysis (Simulation)
  • – 3D Design
  • – Sample Process
  • – Sizing
  • – FOB (Free On Board)
  • – Detailed Multi-Dimensional BOM Costing
  • – BOL (Bill Of Labour) Costing
  • – Capacity Planning
  • – Ethical Auditing
  • – Critical Path Management
  • – Manufacture Tracking
  • – Construction and Assembly Details
  • – Quality Assurance and Control
  • – Supplier Performance
  • – Maintenance and Support

The reality is that PLM lives in a shrinking world called Cyberspace and covers a multitude of complex processes that are in constant change (which need to be captured). People and departments can no longer perform their tasks in isolation if the business is to remain competitive. The past seasonal structure we all know well will disappear and become an ever-changing daily process of constant newness. A PLM solution can help companies to deliver total transparency across the business, bringing massive savings in cost and time which will essentially drive competitive advantage.

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.